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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st February 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 1, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Pulse Polio Programme For 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Health

In news 

  • President of India launched the Pulse Polio Programme for 2021 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Key takeaways

  • The drops were on the eve of the Polio National Immunization Day, observed on the 31st January 2021, popularly known as Polio Ravivar.
  • Around 17 crore children of less than 5 years of age will be given polio drops as part of the drive of the Government of India to sustain the polio-free status of the country.
  • The strategy of the Pulse Polio Immunization Programme was conceived in December 1993 and it was rolled out from 2nd October 1994 when the first child was immunized against Polio as part of this program.
  • The last case of Polio in India was reported in Howrah on 13th January 2011.
  • India has been free of Polio for a decade now.

Do you know?

  • Polio-free certification’ of the entire South-East Asia Region of WHO including India on the 27th of March 2014 was a huge accomplishment in the history of India and Global Public Health.

Related articles:


Economic Survey 2020-21: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Health

In news 

  • Key Finding of Economic Survey 2020-21 Reveals Strong Positive Impact of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) on Health Outcomes.

Observations by the Survey:

  • The proportion of households with any usual member covered under health insurance or financing scheme increased by 54% from NFHS 4 to NFHS 5 in the states that adopted PMJAY.
  • It decreased by 10% in the states that did not adopt PMJAY.
  • The proportion reflects the success of PMJAY in enhancing health insurance coverage.
  • The reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was 20% compared to 12% in PMJAY and non-PMJAY states respectively. 
  • The proportion of people ensuring family planning rose across all the states between the two surveys.
  • The increase is much more significant in the states that adopted PM-JAY indicating its effectiveness.
  • The proportion of women with total unmet family planning needs decreased by 31% in the PMJAY states.
  • The decline in the non-PMJAY states was merely 10%.

Related articles:


Economic Survey 2020-21: Employment

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III – Employment

In news 

  • The Economic Survey 2020-21 states that the years 2019 and 2020 are landmark years in the history of labor reforms.

Key takeaways

  • The country saw nearly 29 Central Labour laws being amalgamated, rationalized, and simplified into four labor codes viz.:
    1. the Code on Wages, 2019,
    2. the Industrial Relations Code, 2020,
    3. the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and
    4. the Code on Social Security, 2020
  • COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerability of urban casual workers, who account for 11.2% of the urban workforce (All-India) as per Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), January-March, 2020.
  • Industry-wise estimates on workforce show that ‘Agriculture’ is still the largest employer with 42.5% of the workforce.
  • The next important industry is ‘other services’ where 13.8% were engaged.

Economic Survey 2020-21: Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III – Economy

In news 

  • The Economic Survey says that ABRY, a component of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package announced in November 2020 has a total estimated outlay of Rs 22,810 crore for the scheme period i.e., up to wage month 31st May 2023.

The scheme proposes to pay:

  • Entire employees’ and employers’ contribution i.e. 24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing up to 1000 employees during the period from October 2020 to June 2021 and also to re-employ who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
  • Only employees’ share of EPF contribution (i.e. 12 percent) of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employees during the period from October 2020 to June 2021, and also to re-employees who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
  • To provide relief to the organized sector employees, a notification issued on 28th March 2020 by the Government provisioning a non-refundable advance of 75 percent of the outstanding balance or 3 months’ wages whichever is lower, allowed to the members of EPFO.
  • Under Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) financial assistance was given to building & other construction workers (BOCW) which largely included migrant workers from the funds collected under BOCW’s cess.

Economic Survey 2020-21: Banking Sector

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III – Economy

In news 

  • According to Economic Survey 2020-21, the Gross Non-Performing Assets ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks decreased from 8.21% at the end of March 2020 to 7.49% at the end of September 2020.

Key takeaways

  • This has to be seen in conjunction with the asset classification relief provided to borrowers on account of the pandemic, says the Economic Survey.
  • Further, the Capital to risk-weighted asset ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks increased from 14.7% to 15.8% between March 2020 and September 2020 with improvement in both Public and Private sector banks.
  • The recovery rate for the Scheduled Commercial Banks through Insolvency & Bankruptcy code-IBC (since its inception) has been over 45%
  • Due to the pandemic, the initiation of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) was suspended for any default. 
  • The suspension along with continued clearance has allowed a small decline in accumulated cases.
  • The financial flows to the real economy remained constrained on account of subdued credit growth by both banks and Non-Banking Financial Corporations.
  • The credit growth of banks slowed down to 6.7% as of January 1, 2021. 

Miscellaneous

Lower Arun Hydroelectric Project

  • The government of Nepal has allotted the 679 MW Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project in Nepal to SJVN – the largest Indian Hydroelectric company through competitive bidding.

  • The Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project is located in Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur Districts of Nepal.
  • The Projects being developed by SJVN in Nepal would result in the overall development and boost mutual economic growth in India & Nepal.

(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

Green Tax on Vehicle owners

Context: Union Transport Minister announced approval of a ‘green tax’ on vehicles of specified vintage, as a means of dissuading people from using polluting vehicles.

What are the major features of the measure?

  • Additional Road Tax on Older Vehicles: Among the major features of the measure is a 10%-25% additional green tax on the road tax payable by commercial transport vehicles that are older than eight years at the time of fitness certification renewal, and for personal vehicles after 15 years. 
  • Exemptions: The policy provides exemptions for tractors, harvesters and tillers used in farms, hybrid, electric, ethanol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered vehicles.
  • Incentivising Mass Transport: The policy proposes lower green tax for public transport vehicles such as buses.
  • Vehicles in Polluted Cities: A higher additional 50% of road tax is proposed for vehicles in highly polluted cities, as well as differential tax based on fuel and vehicle type, such as diesel. 
  • Older Government Vehicles: Vehicles of government departments and public sector units that are older than 15 years are to be deregistered and scrapped. 
  • Separate Fund: Green tax funds are to be kept in a separate account to help States measure pollution and tackle it
  • The policy is scheduled to come into force on April 1, 2022

Does scrapping old vehicles carry big benefits?

  • Benefits Automobile Sector: Scrapping of old vehicles give a boost to the automobile industry and related businesses by stimulating demand, and lead to recovery of steel, aluminium, plastic and so on for recycling, on the other. 
  • Environment Friendly: Newer vehicles conforming to stricter emissions and fuel efficiency standards are more environment-friendly, and have modern safety features. 
  • Precedence by other countries: Globally, accelerated vehicle replacement schemes have been used in several countries. The most notable were those in Europe, besides the high-profile, $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” or CARS (or Car Allowance Rebate System) programme in the U.S. after the 2008 recession. 
  • Higher Efficiency Norms reduced fuel usage: The benefits from vehicle replacements can be gauged from Transport Ministry data: commercial vehicles making up 5% of the vehicle fleet but contribute an estimated 65-70% of total vehicular pollution. The BEE estimates that higher efficiency norms could result in a fuel use reduction of 22.97 million tons by 2025 in India.

Is the proposed policy for scrappage workable?

  • In 2015 during drafting stages, Transport Minister Mr. Gadkari said the idea was to give a certificate to owners selling off old vehicles of specified age, which could be redeemed for a discount of ₹30,000 to ₹50,000 for new passenger vehicles. 
  • For a commercial vehicle, the benefits including taxes would be an estimated ₹1.5 lakh. This idea did not progress, however, and among those who expressed reservations on high costs was NITI Aayog. 
  • The Aayog was concerned that some sections may not be in a position to retire old vehicles because of the high capital cost
  • The proposals in earlier drafts also envisaged tax discounts for those who exchanged old motors for new ones. 
  • The present initiative, however, has the limited objective of nudging the owners of older vehicles to sell them off rather than pay a green tax penalty
  • Without sufficient incentive or penalty, and careful targeting of vehicles with knowledge of their condition, a tax penalty could be less of a disincentive to commercial vehicle owners, since the tax would be far lower than its resale value and earnings potential; there would be no compulsion to retire it
  • Continued operation of the vehicles would defeat the clean air objective and bring no cheer to the automobile industry

What are the options available to tweak the policy?

  • For a clean-up, commercial transport vehicles are of highest concern: on fuel efficiency, emissions and safety. 
  • The Centre could offer a green new deal with financial options such as loans and grants to smaller operators to scrap their junk vehicles, while escalating the green tax annually to achieve the nudge effect. 
  • A second stimulus to bus companies could help green the fleet and cut pollution.
  • Small operators such as autorickshaws could be offered low-interest loans, particularly to move to electric vehicles.

Connecting the dots:

  • Carbon Cess

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Which of the following country/countries is/are polio endemic?

  1. Nigeria
  2. Pakistan
  3. Afghanistan
  4. India

Select the correct code:

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 4 only
  4. 1 only

Q.2 Consider the following statements:

  1. The reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is more in states that adopted PM Jan Aarogya Yojana than the ones who did not adopt it.
  2. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths for every 100 live births.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY):

  1. Entire employees’ and employers’ contribution of 24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employees.
  2. Only employees’ share of EPF contribution of 12% of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing upto 1000 employees.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWERS FOR 30th January 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 D
3 C

Must Read

On Economic Survey 2021:

The Hindu

About building a robust healthcare system:

The Hindu

About 15th Finance Commission final report’s impact for cities:

The Indian Express

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