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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus]- 28th November 2017

  • IASbaba
  • November 28, 2017
  • 3
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 28th November 2017

Archives


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


ISRO’s Solar Mission Aditya-L1

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Space Technology and achievements of ISRO

Key pointers:

  • By 2019 or 2020 India will send ISRO’s solar mission Aditya-L1 to a vantage point in space, known as the L1 Lagrange point, to do imaging and study of the sun.
  • The 1,500-kg class satellite will be programmed to orbit the L1 point and image the sun’s magnetic field from space for the very first time in the world.
  • Scientists hope to capture the close-ups of the sun, uninterrupted by eclipses for years.
  • Aditya-L1 is expected to be the very first to study from space two months from the time of launch, the magnetic field of the sun’s corona.
  • Few other space agencies have successfully placed their satellites at the L1 point, example- SOHO, ACE etc.
  • It will be the first 100% Indian mission which will not only negotiate a challenging orbit, but will also benefit the global scientific community in understanding the sun.
  • There is currently no satellite imaging the sun from space.
  • Aditya-L1 will carry seven payloads.

Important terms:

  • Solar cycle – an occurrence in which sunspots form on the face of the sun, growing in size and number and eventually diminishing, all over a period of eleven years. It will be a mission of many firsts.
  • The L1 point is 1.5 million kilometres away.
    Here, due to the delicate balance of gravitational forces, the satellite will require very little energy to maintain its orbit.
    Also, it will not be eclipsed from the sun.
  • The corona is the outer layer that we see during total solar eclipses.

Article link: Click here


15th Finance Commission

Part of: Mains GS Paper III – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning

Key pointers:

  • NK Singh will be the chairman of the 15th Finance Commission (FC)
  • The FC will recommend distribution of taxes between the Centre and the states.
  • The Commission will work on the principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States out of the Consolidated Fund of India and the sums to be paid to the States by way of grants-in-aid of their revenues under Article 275 of the Constitution.
  • The Commission will also suggest measures to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities.
  • The government has further tasked the Commission to suggest a fiscal consolidation roadmap for the Centre and the states.

About FC:

  • Finance Commission is a body set up under Article 280(1) of the Constitution.
  • It is formed every five years to recommend principles governing the allocation of tax revenue between the Centre, states and local bodies.
  • Its primary job is to recommend measures and methods on how revenues need to be distributed between the Centre and states.
  • The recommendations of the previous 14th Finance Commission, chaired by former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Y V Reddy, are valid from 2015 to 2020. The recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission will be implemented for the period starting 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2025.

Article link: Click here


Seven principles of a good data protection law

Part of: Mains GS Paper II – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key pointers:

  • The Justice BN Srikrishna Committee, set up by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, was tasked with writing a draft data protection law. It published a white paper on data protection framework.
  • The seven key principles mentioned on which such a framework could be based upon in the country include:
    1) Technology agnostic law.
    2) Be applicable to the private sector and the government.
    3) Informed and meaningful consent.
    4) Minimal and necessary data processing.
    5) Data controller must be accountable for any processing.
    6) Establishing a high-powered statutory authority for enforcement, supported by a decentralised enforcement mechanism.
    7) Penalties for wrongful data processing to ensure deterrence
  • It envisions three main objectives of a data protection authority:
    1) Monitor, investigate and enforce the laws.
    2) Set the standards.
    3) Generate awareness in an increasingly digitised society.

Article link: Click here


World’s smallest data recorder made of bacteria 

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Science & Technology

Key pointers:

  • Researchers have converted a natural bacterial immune system into the world’s smallest data recorder.
  • This achievement lays the groundwork for a new class of technologies that use bacterial cells for everything from disease diagnosis to environmental monitoring.
  • The researchers modified an ordinary laboratory strain of the microbe Escherichia coli, enabling the bacteria to not only record their interactions with the environment but also time-stamp the events.

Micro applications:

  • Such bacteria, swallowed by a patient, might be able to record the changes they experience through the whole digestive tract, yielding an view of previously inaccessible phenomena.
  • Environmental sensing and basic studies in ecology and microbiology, where bacteria could monitor otherwise invisible changes without disrupting their surroundings.

Article link: Click here 


(MAINS EXCLUSIVE)


TOPIC: General studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Social Issue – Child labour and related issues

Is the world losing the battle against Child Labour?

Global child labour estimates

  • 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys – are in child labour globally, accounting for almost one in ten of all children worldwide.
  • 71% of children in child labour work in the agricultural sector and 69% perform unpaid work within their own family unit.
  • Nearly half of all those in child labour are in hazardous work that directly endangers their health, safety, and moral development.
  • 3 million children in forced labour, a worst form of child labour.

Therefore, the international community has declared that the persistence of child labour in today’s world is unacceptable and, in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has renewed its commitment to eliminating all forms of child labour by 2025.

Sustainable Development Goal for ending child labour

  • SDG Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth): focuses on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth and full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • SDG Target 8.7 aims to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”

Under the SDG agenda, UN member states, employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as civil society organizations urged to eliminate child labour by 2025, and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.

Current position:

Two years after governments set the above discussed 2025 target to end child labour, delegates from 100 nations at a recent Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour held in Buenos Aires were told that they will miss the deadline.

Recently launched International Labour Organization (ILO) reports also caution that the world will not achieve the SDG goal of ending child labour unless society “dramatically” increases its efforts to end modern slavery and child labour.

The report hinted that realizing the objective could take well over 20 years after the expiry of the 2030 SDGs.

  • Overall, there was a slowdown in the reduction of child labour, just one percentage point, during the four years until 2016.
  • More worrisome is that there was almost no progress with respect to the rescue of children under 12 years in the four years since 2012.
  • Equally, the decline in child labour among girls was only half the proportion of that of boys during this period.

Child labour is declining far too slowly, in the midst of unprecedented growth in migration and forced displacement that aggravate the situation.

Failures:

ILO report points to four systemic failures that underpin the lack of progress:

  1. Absence of an effective national legislation: There is a need for an efficient national legislation to give effect to global conventions on the employment of children in hazardous industries, as well as on the minimum age of work.
  2. Lack of harmony between global commitments and domestic priorities.
  3. Lack of effective labour inspections in the informal economy: A strong legal framework that mandates punitive action against offending firms and recruitment of youth and adults are important tools to guarantee the protection of children.
  4. Absence of strong collective bargaining mechanisms and effective social protection policies from the cradle to the end of their lives.

Solution:

To end modern slavery, the report recommends:

  • stronger social protection floors to offset the vulnerabilities that push people into slavery;
  • extending labour rights in the informal economy to protect workers from exploitation; and
  • improving migration governance.
  • The report also elaborates on the importance of addressing gender considerations and tackling modern slavery as part of humanitarian actions in areas of fragility, conflict and crisis.

Conclusion:

The argument that has long held sway is that child labour, however unfortunate, is inevitable as long as households remained poor. Only after parents escape poverty will their children be able to enter school. What these claims ignore is that the reverse is far more true. That child labour is indeed a major cause of persisting poverty. That if a child is trapped in labour instead of being able to attend fully to her schooling, she will never be able to escape the poverty of her parents. The child of a sanitation worker, rag-picker, domestic worker or casual labourer is likely to be trapped in the professions of her parents unless she is able to access quality education.

We should not be the generation that will preside over a system when the state dropped the ball – and our children and we pay the price for it, under the garb of doing right for them.

Economic development, investment, women and child welfare and job creation should be given their rightful place in budgetary allocation. Amidst the furore over the recent juvenile crimes and release we should be able to think of such positive steps so that another child is not turned into a criminal because of avoidable circumstances.

Child is meant to learn, NOT to earn

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think the existing legal and institutional support is adequate to end the menace of child labour in India? Critically comment.

NATIONAL

TOPIC:

General Studies 1:

  • Social empowerment

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

General Studies 3:

  • Indian economy and issues related to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Improving female participation in workforce

In news:

According to the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2017”, India’s ranking has fallen by 21 places from last year.
We currently are far below the global average and also behind our neighbours China and Bangladesh.

Poor participation in workforce:

  • As per the World Bank report, we have one of the lowest workforce female participation rates, ranking 120th among 131.
  • One of the areas where we have fared poorly is in wages and participation of women in the economy where our rank is an abysmal 139. This is not the first report to highlight the plight of our women.
  • Even in terms of contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), women are currently under-represented. At 17%, India has a lower share of women’s contribution to GDP than the global average of 37%.
  • The participation levels in workforce have been dropping in the last few years. The National Sample Survey found that while in 1999-2000, 25.9% of all women worked; by 2011-12 this proportion had dropped to 21.9%.

Explanation behind:

A possible explanation is that with rising household income, women now have the opportunity to choose leisure over work, especially in agricultural sectors and on construction sites, and focus on their families.
However, research has shown that when women have access to more work opportunities, they gladly take them.

Women do seek opportunities:

The India Human Development Survey highlighted that the provision of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) brought more rural women into wage labour.
Among MGNREGA workers in 2011-12, a whopping 45% were not in wage labour before the scheme was initiated, which means that women do seek opportunities to earn a stable wage.

More participation in informal economy rather than formal one:

According to an International Labour Organization study, the participation of women in informal employment and non-standard forms of employment (for eg. part-time jobs or jobs in the informal sector) is higher than men. The share of women in services and industry is less than 20%.

Disadvantages:

  • Fewer skilling opportunities and lack of job security.
  • A woman is less likely to find stable job opportunities within the informal sectors.
  • Poor quality and even unsafe working conditions, low wages and denial of statutory benefits like social security.
  • Higher risks of discrimination as compared to male colleagues.
  • Wages not only below the statutory minimum wage but also much less than her male counterparts’ and benefits like maternity leave or related facilities, which are meant to keep women in the workforce, will not be accessible to her in the informal sector.

Women opting out of employment:

The lack of safe working conditions, social security benefits, and a fair wage that can only be paid by formal sector employers with high productivity and output ratios, induces women to opt out of employment.

What needs to be done?

To take their rightful place within Indian workforce and society at large, our women need lot more formal sector employment opportunities with better wages. For this formal sector employment need to grow.

  • The existing complex and conflicting regulatory cholesterol and inconsistent legislation are currently impeding formal job creation.
  • A total revamping of the regulatory ecosystem is required.
  • Sustained reforms in labour laws and skilling ecosystems will help in creation of formal jobs.
  • A change in thought process about the role of women in society and the economy is required.
  • Huge investments will be needed in upskilling and educating women and the girl child, financial inclusion of women, encouraging women entrepreneurs and strengthening legal provisions for safety and security of women.

Increased availability of stable-wage jobs for women is critical to preventing the socio-economic exploitation of women, improving their quality of life, enhancing a woman’s control over household decision-making and enabling her to lead a life of dignity.
Formalization of India’s job market is one the crucial step in this regard.

Conclusion:

It is estimated that India can potentially boost its GDP by $700 billion in 2025, translating to 1.4% per year of incremental GDP growth, by raising female labour-force participation rate by just 10 percentage points, from 31% to 41%. This can be possible only if formalization of jobs takes place.

Connecting the dots:

  • Female workforce participation rates are far below the global average and also behind our neighbors China and Bangladesh. Discuss the reasons behind. Formalization of jobs is the way out. Analyse.

Also read: Missing women in India’s labour force


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