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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd December 2021

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  • December 2, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020

Part of: Prelims and GS-II- Health 

In News: The Lok Sabha passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020, that proposes the establishment of a national registry and registration authority for all clinics and medical professionals serving in the field. 

Key Takeaways

  • The ART bill seeks to set minimum standards and codes of conduct for fertility clinics and egg/sperm banks.
  • The bill provides for the “safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services”, including egg or sperm donation, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and gestational surrogacy.
  • The bill also aims to introduce protections for egg donors, gestational surrogates, and children conceived through ART services.
  • Offences under the bill include 
    • Clinics offering sex selection
    • Abandoning or exploiting children born through ART
    • Selling, buying, or importing of human embryos, 
    • Exploiting the couple or donors concerned in any form. 
  • Proposed jail terms for violations range from five to 12 years, and fines from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.

G20’s TROIKA

Part of: Prelims and GS-II- International 

In News: India joined the G20 ‘Troika’

  • With this move, India has started the procedure for taking over the G20 presidency next year.

Key Takeaways

  • Troika refers to the top grouping within the G20 that consists of the current, previous and the incoming presidencies — Indonesia, Italy and India.
  • India will assume the G20 presidency on December 1, 2022 from Indonesia, and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in India in 2023.
  • Italy hosted the G20 summit during October 30-31 that was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where India had raised the issue of Afghanistan’s future following the takeover by the Taliban.
  • Indonesia took over the G20 presidency on December 2, 2021. Next year’s summit will be organised along the overall theme of “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”.
  • As a Troika member, India will work closely with Indonesia and Italy to ensure consistency and continuity of the G20’s agenda.

Pragyata Guidelines

Part of: Prelims and GS-II- Education

In News: Keeping in view the availability of digital infrastructure PRAGYATA Guidelines on Digital Education had been issued to all State governments as well as Schools directly under Central Government as advice. 

  • The guidelines brief on various modes of digital education including online mode that depends more on availability of internet, partially online mode that utilizes the blended approach of digital technology and other offline activities, and offline mode that utilizes television and radio as a major medium of instruction of education.
  • This information was given by the Union Minister of Education, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

India-ITU Joint Cyberdrill 2021

Part of: Prelims and GS-III- Cyber Security 

In News: Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have commenced India-ITU Joint Cyberdrill 2021. 

  • It is a four days virtual event starting from 30 November to 3 December 2021

About:

  • This Cyberdrill is intended for Indian entities especially Critical Network Infrastructure operators.
  • Several experts from ITU, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and other eminent organizations participated in the inaugural session.
  • More than 400 participants participated from critical sectors, namely, power, insurance, finance, CERT-In and CSIRT, industry, academia, telecom service providers and field units of DoT.
  • India has secured 10th rank in the ITU Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI).

Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GEFI)

Part of: Prelims and GS-III- Cyber Security 

In News: According to GFEI 2021, the global goal to halve the fuel consumption of new light-duty vehicles by 2030 from 2005 levels is stalling. 

  • The average rated fuel consumption of new light-duty vehicles fell by only 0.9% between 2017 and 2019. 
  • The 3 major car markets – China, the European Union and the US – accounted for 60% of global sales of light-duty vehicles in 2019, which totalled 90 million, down 7% from 2017
  • A number of factors were responsible for the slowing pace of improvement between 2017 and 2019. These included-
    • Stagnating fuel economy standards in the US and the EU up to 2019
    • Market share of SUVs is increased and these cars can use almost one-third more fuel than a medium-sized car
    • Slow adoption of electric cars to compensate for larger vehicles

About GFEI

  • The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) is collaboration between the UNEP, IEA, the University of California, International Council on Clean Transportation, International Transport Forum and the FIA Foundation.
  • GFEI promotes fuel efficiency in cars and light duty vans, through the adoption of the cost effective fuel efficiency technologies.
  • The objective of the GFEI is to help stabilize greenhouse gas emissions from the global light duty vehicle fleet through a 50% improvement of vehicle fuel efficiency worldwide by 2050.
  • GFEI promotes the introduction of cleaner, more energy efficient vehicles in developing and transitional countries.
  • It offers support to governments to develop fuel economy policies.

(News from PIB)


World AIDS Day:

  • It is observed on 1st December
  • AIDS is a pandemic disease caused by the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which damages the human immune system.
  • It is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition.
  • By damaging immune system, HIV interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
  • The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids.
  • AIDS symptoms include weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue and recurrent infections.
  • No cure exists for AIDS.
  • Strict adherence to antiretroviral regimens (ARVs) can slow the disease’s progress and prevent secondary infections and complications.

Initiatives by India

  • India’s unique HIV prevention model is centered around the concept of ‘Social Contracting’ through which the ‘Targeted Interventions Program’ is implemented.
  • The HIV & AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2017, provides a legal and enabling framework to safeguard the human rights of infected and affected populations.
  • India is providing free anti-retro-viral treatment to close to 1.4 million people.
  • Project Sunrise: Launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2016) to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states 
  • The Red Ribbon: Wearing a ribbon is a way to raise awareness on and during the run up to World AIDS Day.
  • 90-90-90: 90% of those who are HIV positive in India know their status, 90% of those who know their status are on treatment and 90% of those who are on treatment experience effective viral load suppression.
  • Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM): It is designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

National AIDS Control Program

  • Launched by: The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) launched in 1992-1999.
  • NACO is a division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • India is gradually transitioning the people living with HIV to Dolutegravir (a safer and efficacious anti-retro-viral medication regimen).

Employment of Rural Youth

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS – II – Government policies and interventions

  1. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS): This is a demand driven wage employment programme which provide for the enhancement of livelihood security of the households in rural areas of the country by providing at least one hundred days of guaranteed wage employment in every financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  2. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY): This is a placement linked skill development programme for wage employment.
  3. Skill development through Rural Self Employment and Training Institutes (RSETIs): This enables a trainee to take bank credit and start his/her own Micro-enterprise. Some of such trainees may also seek regular salaried jobs.
  4. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): For Skill based training of the youth across the country including of youth belonging to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe/ Economically weaker Section under Short Term Training (STT) courses and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). 
  5. Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP): Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises is implementing Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), which is a major credit-linked subsidy programme aimed at generating self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth. PMEGP Scheme facilitates generation of self-employment opportunities through establishment of micro-enterprises in the non-farm sector by helping traditional artisans and unemployed youth. 

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ INTERNATIONAL

  • GS-2: Economy & Challenges
  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global agreements affecting India’s interests

Global Wealth Tax on Multimillionaires

Context: Global billionaire wealth in 2021 represents 3.5 per cent of global household wealth.

  • Also, the share of the top 0.01 per cent rose from 7 per cent of global wealth in 1995 to 11 per cent in 2021 as per the findings of the latest World Inequality Report 2022 showed.

The concentration of wealth

  • Since the mid-1990s, the richest 1 per cent captured 38 per cent of wealth growth at the global level, the report says.
  • As per the report, the richest 10 per cent own around 60-80 per cent of wealth, and the poorest half systematically own less than 5 per cent of wealth.
  • The bottom 50% of the global population owns just 2% of wealth and 8 per cent of income, while the top 10 per cent of population owns 76 per cent of total household wealth and captured 52 per cent of total income in 2021, as per the report.
  • It said that government intervention is key to tackling inequality with social and tax policies.

The solutions

  • Economist Thomas Piketty has suggested developing new forms of wealth taxation on multimillionaires including a progressive rate of wealth tax with tax rates according to the value of the total amount of wealth owned.
  • What has been happening is a higher concentration of wealth, more wealth inequality and our tax systems so far in most countries in the world have not adapted to this. 
  • Such new taxes also makes sense especially when the governments are looking for money to repay the increased debt during Covid times.

Why the need for Global Wealth Tax?

  • There is a proposal of global wealth tax on multimillionaires, people who own more than a million dollars or euros and this tax in this proposal is progressive, meaning that the rates are going to be according to the value of the total amount of wealth that one owns.
  • In countries, where wealth is highly concentrated, more rates on the stock of wealth of very wealthy individuals can deliver high amounts of revenues.
  • The global bottom 50 per cent income share remains historically low despite growth in the emerging world in the past decades.
  • The share of global income going to top 10 per cent highest incomes at the world level has fluctuated around 50-60 per cent between 1820 and 2020 (50 per cent in 1820, 60 per cent in 1910, 56 per cent in 1980, 61 per cent in 2000, 55 per cent in 2020).
  • However, the share going to the bottom 50 per cent lowest incomes has generally been around or below 10 per cent (14 per cent in 1820, 7 per cent in 1910, 5 per cent in 1980, 6 per cent in 2000, 7 per cent in 2020).
  • The top 0.1 per cent of the global population captures more income than the entire bottom 50 per cent. 
  • The average annual wealth growth rates among the poorest half of the population were between 3 per cent and 4 per cent per year between 1995 and 2021.
  • The poorest half of the world population only captured 2.3 per cent of overall wealth growth since 1995. 
  • The top 1 per cent benefited from high growth rates (3 per cent to 9 per cent per year). This group captured 38 per cent of total wealth growth between 1995 and 2021.
  • The share of wealth detained by the world’s billionaires rose from 1 per cent of total household wealth in 1995 to nearly 3.5 per cent today, it said.

Income inequality in gender terms

  • In gender terms, the income inequality is sharp, with women workers getting just one-third of total labour income.
  • Women today get just one-third of all labour income in the world whereas gender parity would mean they get half of that. 
  • But currently women earn just one-third of all incomes from work and the situation has increased since the 1990s but at a very slow rate. If we continue at this rate, we need to wait at least a century to reach gender parity.

GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Developmental challenges

Census 2021 with a Mixed-Mode Approach

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS – II – Government policies and interventions

Context: Due to outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the Census 2021 and related field activities have been postponed. 

  • Will be the first digital Census
  • Mobile App for collection of data and a Census Portal for management and monitoring of various Census related activities have been developed.
  • State Governments of Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha have requested to collect caste details
  • The names of the mother tongue and two other languages known in order of proficiency are to be recorded
  • There is a provision for self-enumeration. Self-enumeration refers to completion of census survey questionnaires by the respondents themselves.

What is Census?

  • In Census (decennial census), data is collected on demographic and various socio-economic parameters like education, SC/ST, religion, language, marriage, fertility, disability, occupation and migration of the individuals. 
  • Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India is responsible for carrying out the census. 
  • It provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population. 
  • The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
  • As per the official Gazette, the individual data collected in Census under the Census Act, 1948, are not made public as per the provisions contained in the Act. 
    • The individual data are not used for the preparation of any other database, including the National Register of Citizens. 
  • Only the aggregated Census data at various administrative levels are released.
  • The Census 2021 will be conducted in 18 languages out of the 22 scheduled languages (under 8th schedule) and English, while Census 2011 was in 16 of the 22 scheduled languages declared at that time.
  • The Census data would be available by the year 2024-25 as the entire process would be conducted digitally and data crunching would be quicker.

Census Act 1948

The Census Act 1948, as amended in 1994 defines the act as:,In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —

(a) “premises” means any land, building or part of a building and includes a hut, shed or other structure or any part thereof;

(b) “Prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(c) “Vehicle” means any vehicle used or capable of being used for road transport, whether propelled by mechanical power or otherwise

What is the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India?

  • Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, was founded in 1961 by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Role: Arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India. 
  • The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.

What is the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC)?

  • Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), which collected the first figures on caste since 1931, is the largest exercise of the enumeration of caste. 
  • SECC supplies data to differentiate the socio-economic status of households based on housing, educational status, landholding, differently abled, occupation, possession of assets, SC/ST households, incomes etc.
  • The Census thus provides a portrait of the Indian population, while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.

News Source: PIB


(ORF: Expert Speak)


Nov 27: Taking on a burning problem: Mumbai’s air pollution

https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/taking-on-a-burning-problem-mumbais-air-pollution/ 

TOPIC:

  • GS-3: Climate Change

Taking on a burning problem: Mumbai’s air pollution 

Air pollution in Mumbai: Owing to its industrial expanse and strong fossil fuel reliance, the Mumbai region constitutes a large airshed for western India. 

  • The city’s financial clout, accessible resources, and vast population build a strong impetus for Maharashtra’s government to bear a large share of the burden of reducing emissions for Mumbai.
  • Air pollution causes 13 deaths per minute worldwide, and poses a severe threat to Mumbai’s health, with a Swiss air quality organisation IQAir highlighting US $2.9 billion in losses and 20,000 fatalities due to ambient air pollution in 2020-21.
  • A startling comparison came to light in 2019 when the Union Earth Sciences Ministry’s System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research revealed that the concentration of finer PM2.5 particles in the overall PM10 concentration was much higher in Mumbai than in Delhi, implying that while the air in Mumbai may not be as polluted, the impact on human health may be greater.

Four key sectoral challenges and potential solutions

In Mumbai, traffic emissions, construction operations, paved and unpaved road dust, landfills, open rubbish burning, and industrial emissions are among the major sources of pollution.

Traffic and industry Emissions: Road travel accounts for 80 percent of Mumbai’s fossil fuel emissions. 

  • More pollution under control (PUC) centres must inspect automobiles every six to seven months. 
  • Ideally, a scrappage policy of older vehicles will ensure a shift towards cleaner fuels, increased use of non-motorised transport and electric vehicles through the state’s new robust policy powered by renewable energy. 
  • Industries, with the power sector contributing to 71 percent of Mumbai’s greenhouse gas emissions, should also make the shift to cleaner fuel by phasing out older powerplants, and treating their emissions as per standards laid down by the Centre.

Dust: Rampant realty and road construction activities as a result of the population boom account for over 71 percent of particulate matter in Mumbai’s air, up from 28 percent in 2010. 

  • To mitigate this ever-growing problem, the first step could be stringent enforcement of the Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016, which mandates a safe and effective construction waste disposal system. 
  • For spreading information on bad air quality, a construction site-specific Air Quality Monitoring Plan is required.

Waste Management: Dumping grounds are a massive problem for Mumbai, especially because there is rampant burning of waste, which pollutes the air. 

  • While there have been site-specific drives at the ward, neighbourhood and community levels against indiscriminate incineration of garbage and crop residue, it is important to develop ward-level action plans to prevent open-waste burning. 
  • The government should recruit more manpower to drive the message home because remote pockets of the city still lack education on waste management. 
  • Authorities must create a plan that outlines essential wards with high levels of particulate matter in the air, as well as garbage segregation, transportation, and recycling that is environmentally beneficial.

The Action Plan

For a densely populated city like Mumbai, air pollution is a larger threat because the density per square kilometre runs high and toxic air in one place can be a problem for a large number of people. It is important for sub-city level authorities to always stay alert to changes in pollutant strains, atmospheric composition and sources of air pollution.

  • The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has been a key driver in framing air pollution policies. While it is effective, it suffers from a lack of manpower. 
  • Secondly, air quality monitoring needs to become robust and regular, with real-time updates about the critical air pockets and sources of pollution along with health information. Data dissemination should be quick, sorted, combed through and effective so that analysis becomes easier for mitigation and policymaking. Higher manpower will also ensure that there are more awareness campaigns across the city, from popular squares to the more difficult-to-navigate slums.
  • Thirdly, emission norms for industrial sectors should be tightened. Factory smoke should be treated before it is discharged into the air. Both factories and vehicles should aim towards using low-emission fuel. Vehicles below the BS-IV level of engines should be scrapped with immediate effect. 
  • There is a need to be inclusive and involve everyone in the decision-making step. The government can form a city-level committee under the National Clean Air Program  Mumbai Clean Air Action Plan, including citizen stakeholders and experts from civil society. 

Conclusion

Reduced levels of pollutants in the atmosphere would improve the health of most city residents, but the impact would be greatest among low-income people, informal communities (residents and workers), migrant labourers, and outdoor workers, who are most exposed to the harmful effects of ambient air pollution.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Discus the transport sector’s contribution to air pollution in the country.
  2. To stave off climate change, grow the economy, protect public health, and save lives, we must phase out coal entirely – as quickly as possible. Is it possible? Examine.

(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.

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding G20

  1. Troika refers to the top grouping within the G20 that consists of three largest economies of G20.
  2. India will assume the G20 presidency on December 1, 2022 from Indonesia, and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit for the first time in India in 2023.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI)

  1. It is a collaboration between the International Energy Agency and NITI Aayog
  2. The objective of the GFEI is to help stabilize greenhouse gas emissions from the global light duty vehicle fleet through a 50% improvement of vehicle fuel efficiency worldwide by 2050.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Pragyata guidelines recently seen in the news are associated with which of the following areas?

  1. Federal Cooperation on Water
  2. Health
  3. Digital Education
  4. Police reforms

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

1 B
2 D
3 D

Must Read

On decentralised governance:

The Hindu

On road to recovery:

The Hindu

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