Sarat Chandra IAS Academy brings to you the daily current affairs keeping in mind the changing pattern of the UPSC civil services exam. UPSC Prelims and Mains exams mix the current affairs with static core concepts. So, we give the background explanation for every current topic.
TOPICS OF THE DAY:
1) NEW ANTIMICROBIAL TOOLKIT BY WHO, OIE, FAO
2)GEOSPATIAL TECH CAN FAST-TRACK SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
3)ATAL BEEMIT VYAKTI KALYAN YOJANA (ABVKY)
4)ESSENTIAL SERVICES MAINTENANCE ACT (ESMA)
5) Govt. allots 2,000cr.for infra funding
6) McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report on climate change
1) NEW ANTIMICROBIAL TOOLKIT BY WHO, OIE, FAO:
Relevant to: Prelims GS
Context: Three organizations jointly released regarding the use of antimicrobials in the human, animal and plant sectors recently. Key points
- The document provides an overview and analysis of the standards related to the u antimicrobials. The term ‘use’ in the report includes any emission or release into the environment.
- It is expected to guide and assist national authorities across the world to adopt relevant international instruments and standards The document has been prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO). It was released November 20, 2020. Missing standards
- The standards related to the human use of antimicrobials are distributed over a large variety of instruments. No single comprehensive international instrument governs the use of antimicrobials in humans.
- Most instruments are technical guidelines adopted by the WHO Secretariat or expert committees supported by it.
- However, there are areas where there are no international instruments as well.
- For example, international regulations or guidance on governing the sale of antimicrobials, the treatment guidelines for the vast majority of bacterial infections or on safe disposal of antimicrobials is missing.
- The report called for implementation of standards on antimicrobial use in a comprehensive manner covering all the five stages of the antimicrobial life cycle. Needs for effective national legal and policy frameworks
- This was to be done through effective national legal and policy frameworks, leadership commitment, functional systems and availability of financial resources.
- Efficient enforcement mechanisms and the necessary technical capacity were critical for such implementation.
- This needed to be coupled with appropriate monitoring of the implementation, by using tools such as the Tripartite AMR Country Self-assessment Survey (TrACSS) and those specifically available with the FAO or OIE.
2)GEOSPATIAL TECH CAN FAST-TRACK SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:
Relevant to: Prelims GS # Mains: GS 2
Context: Asian and Pacific nations are increasingly leveraging space technology and geospatial information to respond to challenges on the ground, including efforts to contain the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new report. Key points
What is ‘Geospatial data’?
- ‘Geospatial data’ means data that has a geographic component to it. This means that the records in a dataset have locational information tied to them such as geographic data in the form of coordinates, address, city and PIN code.
- Geospatial Practices for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific 2020 was released virtually November 18, 2020, by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
- Geospatial data, along with the existing statistics, were providing Asia-Pacific countries, with an additional layer of information to monitor the progress of the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- The report noted that the world had faced the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which had put further strain on already fragile development efforts.
- None of the UNESCAP member nations were on track to fully achieve the SDGs in the next decade.
- To elaborate on this, the UN report included 100 best practices from over 25 countries in the Asia-Pacific region including India.
- These underline the importance of using space technology and the geospatial information to support the SDGs. Praise for India
- The report cited the role being played by ‘BHUVAN’, India’s national geo-portal developed and hosted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in combating COVID-19. It also appreciated the water resource information system led by ISRO.
- It also showed how some other Asian countries — Thailand, Indonesia, China — had rapidly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging geospatial information to aid in contract tracing, hotspot mapping and policy impact analysis, among others. The UN-led ‘Space+’ initiative
- The report also flagged the role of the UN-led ‘Space+’ initiative that focuses on strengthening implementation through enhanced partnership with global and regional stakeholders.
- Despite the progress, re-skilling of young workers and investments to strengthen their technological skills will be essential to support sustainable development and resilience in the Asia-Pacific region, the UNESCAP report said.
3)ATAL BEEMIT VYAKTI KALYAN YOJANA (ABVKY) Relevant to:
Context: ESI Corporation (ESIC) has announced the extension of the “Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana” (ABVKY) by another one year up to June 30, 2021and relaxed the eligibility conditions for the period between March 24, 2020 and December 31, 2020. BACKGROUND
The Corporation had earlier introduced (on a pilot basis) a new cash benefit under ABVKY – effective from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020, to provide cash compensation to insured persons rendered jobless. ABOUT ABVKY
This scheme is a welfare measure for employees covered under Section 2(9) of ESI Act, 1948, in the form of relief payment upto 90 days, once in a lifetime. NEW ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS
- The Insured Person should have been in insurable employment for a minimum period of two years immediately before her/his unemployment and should have contributed for not less than 78 days in the contribution period immediately preceding to unemployment and minimum 78 days in one of the remaining three contribution periods in two years prior to unemployment.
- It has also been decided to enhance the rate of unemployment relief under the scheme to 50% of wages from earlier rate of 25%. ESI ACT, 1948
- Employees’ State Insurance Scheme of India is an integrated social security scheme tailored to provide social protection to workers and their dependants, in the organised sector, in contingencies, such as, sickness, maternity and death or disablement due to an employment injury or occupational hazard.
- The ESI Act, (1948) applies to following categories of factories and establishments in the implemented areas:
-Non-seasonal factories using power and employing ten(10) or more persons o Non-seasonal and non power using factories and establishments employing twenty (20) or more persons.
- The “appropriate Government” State or Central is empowered to extend the provisions of the ESI Act to various classes of establishments, industrial, commercial or agricultural or otherwise.
4)ESSENTIAL SERVICES MAINTENANCE ACT (ESMA):
Relevant to : Prelims GS
Context: Uttar Pradesh government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) for a further six months.
WHAT IS ESMA?
This expression is bandied about whenever there is a major strike or bandh. It is the acronym of a law, Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma), which the government can invoke to prohibit striking employees from refusing to work in certain essential services, which are necessary for the maintenance of normal life in the country.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL SERVICES?
Any service with respect to which the Parliament has power to make laws or the government feels that its discontinuation would affect the maintenance of supplies and services necessary for sustaining life is considered an essential service.
IS IT ILLEGAL FOR THESE EMPLOYEES TO GO ON STRIKE?
- A strike per se is not illegal, but the government is empowered to prohibit it if it feels that the strike is gravely disturbing public life.
- For that, the government has to issue a general or special order to end the strike. Any strike becomes illegal after the passing of this order.
WHAT ACTIONS CAN BE TAKEN AGAINST THE EMPLOYEES?
- Persons who commence the strike as well as those who instigate it are liable to disciplinary action, which may include dismissal.
- As the strike becomes illegal after Esma is invoked, legal action can also be taken against these employees.
- Any police officer is empowered to arrest the striking persons without a warrant.
- Persons participating in or instigating the strike are punishable with imprisonment, which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.
WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITY ACT?
- The Essential Commodity Act empowers the government to control production, supply and distribution of certain commodities.
- The act is aimed at maintaining or increasing supplies and for securing the equitable distribution and fair price availability of these commodities.
- The act is also intended to work against unethical
5) Govt. allots 2,000cr.for infra funding:
Relevant to: Prelims GS #Mains :GS 3
Context: The Cabinet approved 6,000 crore infusion into NIIF platform
Key points o The central government’s investment will go into the strategic opportunities fund of NIIF. o Already the centre has allocated Rs. 2,000 crores for the current fiscal.
What is this NIIF platform?
- NIIF’s infrastructure debt financing platform is expected to contribute almost 1 lakh crore in debt to the infrastructure sector over the next five years i.e. 2025.
Benefits of this initiative:
- This amount will act as a catalyst (boost up) to attract more investments into the infrastructure sector
- As this fund will be being used for existing projects, banks can focus on giving loans to new green field projects.
How these funds will be mobilized to various projects?
- Under NIIF, two firms, NIIF Infrastructure Finance Limited (NIIF-FL) and Aseem Infrastructure Finance Limited- AIFL will be responsible for mobilizing the funds.
The AIFL will be financing under construction brown field and green field projects with less than a year of operations.
- NIIF-FL will be financing mature operating assets by helping the infrastructure investors for replacing high-cost bank finance with cheaper financing post- commissioning.
- it is India’s first sovereign wealth fund set up by the government of India in 2015.
- Role: It is a fund manager that invests in infrastructure and related sectors in India.
- Objective: To maximise economic impact by the infrastructure investment in commercially viable projects both Greenfield and Brownfield including stalled projects.
- Shareholders: The Indian government has a 49% stake in NIIF with the rest held by foreign and domestic investors.
6) McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report on climate change:
Relevant to: Mains GS 3
- The worsening effects of climate change may pose a massive risk of $200 billion to India’s GDP (gross domestic product) by 2030.
- It said the rise in temperatures due to climate change would force workers to stay indoors, reducing the outdoor work hours, and may pose a great threat to India’s GDP.
- The report stated, as of 2017, heat-exposed, outdoor work contributed to half of the GDP, accounting for around 30% of its growth. It also said about 380 million, or 75% of India’s labor force, were employed in such sectors.
- “Lost labor hours due to increasing heat and humidity could put approximately 2.5-4.5% of GDP at risk by 2030, equivalent to…$150-250 billion,” it estimated.
Daylight hours unsafe for outdoor work to increase by 15%
- The MGI report further stated the number of daylight hours that are unsafe for outdoor work would roughly rise by 15% by 2030 in comparison to the current levels. This will lead to a reduced number of hours of outdoor work, it said.
- About 160-200 million people of the country could have a 5% chance of lethal heatwave exposure by 2030.
Crop yields: Impact of climate change on agriculture sector
- Apart from affecting the outdoor workforce, climate change is also likely to have an adverse impact on the agriculture sector due to a reduction in yields of crops like rice, wheat, corn, and soy.
- “Indian agriculture may be hit not only by lost hours from extreme heat and humidity but by potential yield declines as well,” it said.
- “We examined the probability of a yield decline or improvement of greater than 10% for today, 2030, and 2050. Certain countries are more exposed than others because of their climatic conditions and composition of crops, with India being the most vulnerable,”
- According to the report, climate risks will not only reduce the agricultural yields but will also lead to a rise in production volatility, destabilizing the incomes of farmers.
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