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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th April 2022

  • IASbaba
  • April 11, 2022
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(Prelims Focus)


PM-DAKSH Yojana

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Policies and interventions

Context: The government has said that around 2,71,000 persons will be trained over five years under Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi, PM-DAKSH Yojana.

  • In 2020-21, the existing scheme of Assistance for Skill Development of Other Backward Classes, Economically Backward Classes was modified as a Central Sector Scheme with the inclusion of Scheduled Castes and Sanitation workers and was renamed as PM- DAKSH Yojana.

About PM-DAKSH Yojana

  • The scheme aims to increase the skill levels of the target youth by providing for long-term and short-term skills, followed by settlement in employment and self-employment.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
  • Nearly 74,000 persons have been trained and more than 17,000 got placement in 2020-21 and 2021-22. 
  • Under the scheme, free-of-cost training will be provided by the government for the trainees.
  • The stipend of ₹1000-1500 per month per trainee will be given for trainees having 80% and above attendance in short-term and long-term training. 
  • Trained candidates will be provided placement after assessment and certification.
  • Candidates in the age group 18 to 45 years belonging to SC, OBC, Economically Backward Classes, Transgender community, Safai Karamcharis can apply for the training programme under PM-DAKSH. 
  • The training is largely intended for rural artisans, domestic and sanitation workers.

News Source: Newsonair


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Judiciary; Dispute redressal mechanisms

Context: Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana stressed the need for increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms that can change the judicial landscape, bringing justice to millions and settling grievances without protracted legal proceedings.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms

  • ADR is a mechanism of dispute resolution that is non adversarial, i.e. working together cooperatively to reach the best resolution for everyone.
  • ADR can be instrumental in reducing the burden of litigation on courts, while delivering a well-rounded and satisfying experience for the parties involved.
  • ADR is generally classified into the following types:
    • Arbitration: The dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision (an “award”) on the dispute that is mostly binding on the parties.
    • Conciliation: A non-binding procedure in which an impartial third party, the conciliator, assists the parties to a dispute in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreed settlement of the dispute.
    • Mediation: In mediation, an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute.
    • Negotiation: A non-binding procedure in which discussions between the parties are initiated without the intervention of any third party with the object of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the dispute

News Source: TH


(News from PIB)


India successfully test-fires Pinaka missile systems at Pokhran

Part of: GS-Prelims 

Context: Pinaka Mk-I (Enhanced) Rocket System (EPRS) and Pinaka Area Denial Munition (ADM) rocket systems have been successfully flight-tested by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Army. 

  • A total of 24 EPRS rockets were fired for different ranges during the last fortnight. The EPRS is the upgraded version of the Pinaka variant that has been in service with the Indian Army for the last decade.
  • Required accuracy and consistency was achieved by the rockets meeting all trial objectives satisfactorily. 
  • With these trails, the initial phase of technology absorption of EPRS by the industry has successfully been completed and the industry partners are ready for user trials/series production of the rocket system.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


SOCIETY/ ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-1: Social Empowerment 
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

Care Work and Care Economy

Context: Care work and care economy — a system that consists of activities and relationships involved in meeting the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of care — remains an integral but undervalued component of economies all over the world.

  • Care work encompasses direct activities such as feeding a baby or nursing an ill partner, and indirect care activities such as cooking and cleaning’.

Why government needs to recognize care work & invest in care infrastructure?

  • Shift in mind set: Treating care economy assets as infrastructure explicitly recognises childcare and elderly care spending as investments rather than expenditures.
  • Strengthens Right to life: Care services will also deliver the benefits of child development, aging in dignity and emotional & psychological stability in one’s life.
  • Increase female labour force: If an additional 2 per cent of the GDP was invested in the Indian health and care sector, 11 million additional jobs could be generated, nearly a third of which would go to women thus increasing female labour force participation rate.
  • Prevents Occupational downgrading: Women with care work responsibilities often take up flexible lower pay jobs to manage both professional work & care work. Investing in care infrastructure can thus prevent “occupational downgrading”.
  • Economic growth: Care economy also helps in stoking gender-inclusive economic growth. Women’s unpaid work is valued at 3.1% of GDP in India. Recognising AWWs, ANMs, ASHAs and domestic help (amongst others), as formal sector workers would allow their economic contribution to be counted in the GDP. 
  • Involving Private Sector: Investment in care infrastructure and services can also be in the form of public private partnerships, to develop expertise of the private sector.
  • Improved Productivity: Workplaces that provide time, income security and space for undertaking care services such as breastfeeding, enable positive nutrition and health outcomes improving productivity of workers.

Challenges faced by Care Economy

  • India spends less than one per cent of GDP on care work infrastructure and services, including pre-primary education, maternity, disability and sickness benefits, and long-term care as per the ILO. 
  • Also, since March 2020, the demand for care services has skyrocketed but the investment in the care economy remains standstill 
  • Unpaid care work is linked to labour market inequalities, yet it has yet to receive adequate attention in policy formulation. 
  • India offers 26 weeks of maternity leave, against the ILO’s standard mandate of 14 weeks that exists in 120 countries. However, this coverage extends to only a tiny proportion of women workers in formal employment in India, where 89% of employed women are in informal sector.
  • While paternity leave is recognised as an enabler for both mothers and fathers to better balance work and family responsibilities, it is not provided in India. 
  • The country’s 2.5 million women Anganwadi workers (AWWs), auxiliary nurse-midwives (ANMs) and accredited social-health activists (ASHAs) are not recognised as workers and do not have requisite access to workers’ rights and entitlements in India. 
  • The Maternity Act, 2017 mandates that employers must provide crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. The absence of clear implementation guidelines, penalty provisions, or monitoring makes non-compliance continue unabated.

Way Ahead

  • Care work should be viewed as a collective responsibility and public good.
  • ILO proposes a 5R framework for decent care work centred around achieving gender equality. The framework urges for
    • Recognition, Reduction, and Redistribution of unpaid care work
    • Rewarding care workers with more and decent work
    • Representation in social dialogue and collective bargaining

Connecting the dots:


SCIENCE & TECH/ ECONOMY

  • 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.

Geotagging of payment system touchpoints

What is Geo-tagging of payment system touchpoints?

  • Geo-tagging refers to the process of adding geographical identification to a media based on the location of smartphones or GPS-enabled electronic devices. 
  • Geo-tags can be applied to media such as photos, videos, websites, text messages and QR codes. 
  • Recently, the Reserve Bank of India issued a framework for geo-tagging of payment system touchpoints, which simply means capturing the geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) of various touchpoints deployed by merchants to receive payments from their customers. 

Why is it important?

  • Indian payments ecosystem has rapidly evolved in recent years with widespread adoption of multiple payment products and systems, including Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) codes, Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and Aadhar-enabled Payment Service (AePS). 
  • Smartphone and internet penetration has led to proliferation of digital payments in the country. 
  • According to data from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI-led digital transactions crossed the highest-ever value of Rs 81-lakh crore with 5.42 billion transactions in FY22. 
  • However, a large number of people, especially in the rural parts of the country, continue to use cash as the primary mode of transaction. 
  • RBI’s geo-tagging framework focusses on deepening digital payments and providing inclusive access to all citizens, irrespective of their location or digital literacy. 

What does RBI guideline entail?

  • The central bank has categorised ‘Banking infrastructure’ and ‘Payment acceptance infrastructure’ as two categories of physical infrastructure through which digital payment transactions are carried out. 
  • Banking infrastructure covers payment transactions made through bank branches, counters, ATMs and Cash Recycle Machines (CRMs), among others. 
  • While PoS terminals, QR codes deployed by banks / non-bank Payment System Operators (PSOs) come under payment acceptance infrastructure. 
  • The RBI framework mandates that banks and non-bank PSOs should maintain a registry with accurate location of all payment touchpoints across the country. T
  • he registry must contain merchant-related information such as the merchant name, ID, type, category, contact details as well as location details such as address and state, district. 
  • Banks and non-bank PSOs must also report payment acceptance infrastructure details such as the terminal type, terminal ID, terminal address, state, district and geo-coordinates. 

How will it benefit banks and players in the payment ecosystem?

  • By capturing the accurate location of various payment system touchpoints, banks can get 
    • insights on regional penetration of digital payments
    • monitor infrastructure density across different locations
    • Identify the scope for deploying additional payment touchpoints
    • Facilitate focused digital literacy programmes. 
  • The data collected through geo-tagging will also help the central bank bring suitable policy interventions wherever required. 

When will it be implemented?

  • All banks and non-bank PSOs are required to report information on payment system touchpoints through the RBI’s Centralised Information Management System (CIMS). 
  • However, the central bank is yet to communicate the timeline for commencement of reporting. 
  • For now, the RBI has asked banks and non-bank PSOs to submit the contact details of the nodal officer for this activity by March 31, 2022.

Connecting the dots:


(ORF: Expert Speak)


April 2: India’s oil imports: Trends in diversification – https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/indias-oil-imports/ 

TOPIC:

  • GS-3: Indian economy
  • GS-3: Energy

India’s oil imports: Trends in diversification

Context: In the pandemic year 2020-21, over 84 percent of India’s petroleum product demand (crude oil and petroleum products) was met with imports. 

  • Gross petroleum imports of about 239 million tonnes (MT) of value US$77 billion accounted for over 19 percent of India’s total imports in 2020-21. 
  • In 2019-20, over 85 percent of petroleum product demand was met with imports. 
  • Gross petroleum imports of over 270 MT of value US$119 billion accounted for 25 percent of India’s total imports. This is a substantial increase compared to 2006-07, when oil imports of about 145 MT accounted for about 77 percent of consumption.

India’s Energy Security

In the early 2000s, the growing volume of crude oil imports was seen to be associated with two key external risks for India’s energy security –

  1. The first was the volume risk, which originated from the fact that most of the global conventional oil reserves and most of India’s oil imports were concentrated in the Persian Gulf.  It was assumed that the political and social volatility in the Persian Gulf region increased the possibility of deliberate oil supply disruptions by state or non-state actors. 
  2. The second was the price risk, which was the probability of a dramatic increase in the price of oil in the international market on account of, amongst other things 
    1. Instability in oil producing regions
    2. Reduction in supply on account of policies adopted in producing countries
    3. International sanctions against oil procurement from specific countries. 

India’s Take: Volume risk in oil supply was prioritised over the price risk and addressed with strategies such as

  • Diversification of oil import basket
  • Acquisition of equity oil assets around the world

Recent trends in India’s crude import basket

The top oil exporter to India in 2020-21 was Iraq followed by Saudi Arabia.  

  • Iraq’s share in India’s imports increased from about 9% in 2009-10 to over 22% in 2020-21.
  • Though Saudi Arabia lost its long-held position as the largest source of India’s oil imports to Iraq in 2017-18, Saudi Arabia’s share has remained steady between 17-18% of India’s imports over a decade.  
  • Interestingly, the USA that was not among the top 20 oil exporters to India a decade ago, it was the 18th largest exporter in 2017-18, ninth largest in 2018-19, seventh largest in 2019-20, and fourth largest in 2020-21. 
    • Apart from the fact that crude oil exports from the USA were illegal until 2015, USA was also a large net importer of crude oil. 
    • With the growth in production of shale oil, the USA is now not only a net exporter of crude oil but also the world’s largest producer
    • The entry of the USA as India’s 4th largest source of oil imports breaks the trend of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, the UAE, Nigeria, and Venezuela dominating India’s top five oil import sources for over two decades.
  • Russia, the country to come under Western sanctions in 2022, is not a large source of India’s oil imports but it has remained in India’s long portfolio of oil importers for over a decade. In 2021-22 (April to January), Russia’s share in India’s oil importers was 2.3%, which put Russia among India’s top 10 sources of oil imports.

The Call for Diversification – Supply insecurity

  • Supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf was a high-impact event to which high-probability was attached and diversification of supply sources was seen as the rational response, given that countries in the region account for over 60% of India’s oil imports
  • Though oil supply disruptions in the Persian Gulf is a high-impact event even today, the probability of occurrence is not as high as it was assumed to be in the era of the war against terrorism. 
  • More importantly ‘demand insecurity’ and the consequent competition amongst oil exporters to gain market share in India, one of the few large growth markets for oil around the world, is influencing diversification more than supply-insecurity. 

Source: Ministry of Commerce & Industry; * 2021-22 (April 2021 to January 2022)

Conclusion

  • The competition for oil markets has been introduced for the first time in several decades, oil exporters from the western hemisphere notably the USA and Russia, amongst the top 10 oil exporters to India.  
  • Geopolitical sanctions may introduce minor short-term aberrations in India’s oil import basket, but this cannot alter longer-term economic trends.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. India needs to carefully devise strategies to diversify its oil import sources. Discuss.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) was set up by Which of the following?

  1. Ministry of Science and technology
  2. NITI Aayog
  3. IIT-Bombay
  4. All of the above

Q.2 Which of the following are types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms?

  1. Arbitration 
  2. Negotiation
  3. Mediation
  4. All of the above

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding PM-DAKSH Yojana:

  1. The scheme aims to increase the skill levels of the target youth by providing for long-term and short-term skills, followed by settlement in employment and self-employment.
  2. It comes under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Which of the above is or are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 11th April 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 C

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