Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 31st May 2022

CURRENT AFFAIRS

 

TOPICS

  • PM CARES scheme

  • Pacific island nations-China security pact

  • Pacific island nations-China security pact

  • After-effects of anti-corruption law

  • Bihar to authorise exploration of country’s ‘largest’ gold reserve

 

PM CARES scheme

 Context

  • Recently government of India released benefits under the PM Cares scheme for Children through a video conference in New Delhi
  • A total of 4,439 children have been approved for the scheme.
  • Children who lostboth their parents or a primary caregiver between March 11, 2020 and February 28, 2022 are eligible for the scheme.
  • The scheme offers a lump sum amount of ? 10 lakh when children turn 23 years old as well as a monthly stipend of Rs 4,000 from the age of 18 to 23.
  • School going children will receive free education, textbooks and uniforms in the nearest government schools
  • Students can also take loans for professional courses and higher education.
  • Passbook of PM Cares for Children, and a health card under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana was handed over to children during the programme.
 About PM-CARES Fund

 

Pacific island nations –China security pact

CONTEXT:

  • Recently these pacific island nations are rejected the china security pact due to not clearly specified intensions of china.
  • These countries are Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Niue
  • What china is offering
  • The proposed pact would see Beijing train Pacific island police, become involved in cybersecurity, expand political ties, conduct sensitive marine mapping and gain greater access to natural resources on land and in the water.
  • China is offering millions of dollars in financial aid, the prospect of a potentially lucrative China Pacific islands free trade agreement and access to China’s vast market
Consequences
  • This may threaten regional stability of pacific islands.
  • Conflict between China and other countries may increase (USA, ASEAN..etc)
  • David Panuelo, president of FSM (Federated States of Micronesia) said that this pact may threatens to bring a new Cold War era at best, and a World War at worst.
  • This may threaten the free movement of ships, open sea and the rules based international order.

 

‘World No Tobacco Day’

Context:

  • Every year on 31 May marked as ‘World No Tobacco Day’ to bring attention to the ill-effects of tobacco by the World Health Organization (WHO). This year theme is ‘Poisoning our planet’, in an effort to highlight the ill-effects of tobacco on the environment.
  • In 2021, smoking killed about 8 million people.
Ill-effects of tobacco on the environment:
  •  According to the WHO, 600 million trees are chopped down annually to make cigarettes.
  • 84 million tonnes of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere
  • 22 billion litres of water are used to make cigarettes.
  • In addition to the environmental costs of production, cigarette butts, packaging, plastic pouches of smokeless tobacco, and electronics and batteries associated with e-cigarettes pollute our environment.
India’s position in tobacco consumption
  • India, the world’s second largest producer of tobacco, produces about 800 million kg annually
  • The second Global Adult Tobacco Survey estimated that 28.6% of all adults in India used tobacco in 20162017, second only to China.
  • The survey said 42.4% of men and 14.2% of women used tobacco — both the smokeless form, i.e. chewing tobacco, and smoked form, i.e. cigarettes and ‘bidis’ .
  • In India 6 million farmers and 20 million farm labourers work in tobacco farming across 15 States (Central Tobacco Research Institute).
  • According to WHO direct health expenditure on treating tobacco related diseases alone accounts for 5.3% of total health spending in India in a year.
Better than before
  • Cigarette companies themselves appear to be changing by transitioning to safer nicotine delivery systems, and moving away from tobacco
  • These cigarette companies are potentially lowering the risk of their customers dying from cancer.
  • Over 90% of adults in India, across strata, identify tobacco as being harmful.
  • With the surge in new commitments to zero carbon from the international commodity sector, companies are putting pressure on their supply chains to transition to sustainable practices and reduce deforestation (eg: WEF)
  • MPOWER is a policy package intended to assist in the country-level implementation of effective interventions to reduce the demand for tobacco, as ratified by the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The six evidence-based components of MPOWER are:

1)    Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies

2)    Protect people from tobacco smoke

3)    Offer help to quit tobacco use

4)    Warn about the dangers of tobacco

5)    Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

6)    Raise taxes on tobacco

  • Educating potential consumers to not consume tobacco, supporting consumers in their journey to quit, and incentivising industry to help consumers and the planet will protect not just our lungs, but also the air we breathe.

 

After-effects of anti-corruption laws

Context:

  • “Bribes witching”, a paper by American researchers looks into the unintended consequences of the strict implementation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
  • Strict anticorruption laws are seen as the panacea to many of society’s problems. But like many other laws that are created with good intentions, there can be unintended consequences to anticorruption laws as well.
  • These consequences are initially unforeseen by the supporters of these laws
Growth of illegal markets
  • The researchers propose what they call the “bribe switching hypothesis” to explain the failure of corruption to fall in foreign countries despite the enforcement of FCPA regulations.
  • In countries where American firms could no longer offer bribes due to FCPA regulations, the size of the black economy increased by as much as 0.25 % points
  • They argue that public officials do not depend on only formal markets to earn bribes but may also depend on other illegal markets to earn bribes.
  • This will make them more likely to allow illegal activities to flourish in order to maximise their bribe revenues.
  • For example, a powerful bureaucrat might allow the illegal sale of liquor in the black market to flourish in exchange for bribes when he can no longer easily obtain bribes for investment projects.
Indian context
  • There was no real decrease in the level of corruption in India after the enactment of the anti-corruption laws.
  • Illegal sand mining is another example in case of Andhra Pradesh
  • Illegal sale of liquor in the black market is prevalent in many Indian states
  • The authors argue that the growth of the black economy is a significant negative development for these countries.
  • Others, however, may argue that the black economy in these countries could be serving as a useful alternative to the highly restricted legal economy.
  • In this view, bribes may actually be greasing the wheels of commerce in many economies where existing laws that govern the formal economy are not conducive to legitimate business activities.

 

Bihar to authorise exploration of country’s ‘largest’ gold reserve

Context:

  • The Bihar government has decided to accord permission for exploration of the “country’s largest” gold reserve in Jamui district.
  • As per a Geological Survey of India (GSI) survey, around 222.88 million tonnes of gold reserve, including 37.6 tonnes of the mineral rich ore, are present in the district. (Jamui district).
  • Union Minister of Mines had last year informed the Lok Sabha that Bihar holds the highest share of India’s gold reserves.
  • Union Minister of Mines said that Bihar has 222.885 million tonnes of gold metal, which amounts to 44% of the total gold reserves in the country.

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 31st May 2022

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