TN, Himachal top India’s child well-being index, says report
- World Vision India, a child-focused humanitarian organisations and IFMR LEAD, a research organisation based in India, have released India Child Well-Being Report. It provides insights on health, nutrition, education, sanitation and child protection.
- The report examines how India fairs on child well-being using a composite child well-being index. The index is based on three dimensions viz. a) healthy individual development, b) positive relationships and c) protective contexts. 24 indicators under the 3 dimensions were selected to develop the computation of the child well-being index.
- Kerala (0.76), Tamil Nadu (0.67) and Himachal Pradesh (0.67) topped the child-wellbeing index. Puducherry performed the best among union territories.
- Meghalaya (0.53), Jharkhand (0.50) and Madhya Pradesh (0.44) performed worst in the overall index.
tarantula sighted in Villupuram district
- Researchers have spotted a Gooty Tarantula in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu
- The species of spider is also known as Peacock Parachute Spider or metallic tarantula because of its attractive iridescent colouration. It belongs to the genus Poecilotheria
- It is endemic to India and its home range is less than a 100 sq. kms in a reserve forest between Nandyal and Giddalur in Andhra Pradesh.
- T was first discovered in the town of Gooty in Andhra Pradesh in 1899.
- It is listed as “Critically Endangered” in the IUCN Red List.
is Fedor the robot?
- Russia’s humanoid robot Fedor (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) has reached International Space Station. It is Russia’s first robot in space.
- Fedor stands 180 cm tall and weighs 160 kg. It copies human movements. It can be operated manually by ISS astronauts wearing robotic exoskeleton suits to perform high risk tasks.
- Fedor will help with high-risk tasks at the ISIS until September 7. Later, Fedor could help in tests on Russia’s new manned transport ship under development called the Federatsiya.
- In 2011, NASA sent up Robonaut 2, a humanoid developed with General Motors that had an aim of working in high-risk environments. In 2013, Japan sent up a robot called Kirobo, developed with Toyota. It was able to hold conversations in Japanese.
- The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station or a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies namely NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (European Union) and CSA (Canada).
rights for Chhattisgarh tribals in Naxal area soon
- The Chhattisgarh government is processing habitat rights under Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 for Abujh Marias, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
- The Abujh Marias live in Abujhmarh forest area in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh.
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 seeks to recognize forest rights of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been occupying and are dependent on the forest land for generations.
- The Act recognizes a) Community Rights or rights over common property resources of the communities in addition to their individual rights, b) right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce, c) Rights in and over disputed land Rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, un-surveyed villages and other villages in forests into revenue villages, d) right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which the communities have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use, e) right to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or displacement from forest land, f) Right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and cultural diversity
- Section 3(1) (e) of FRA, 2006 entitles PVTGs with habitat rights over their entire habitation and ensures protection of culture and way of life.
- The PVTGs are the marginalized section of the Scheduled tribes of India. They are a section who are relatively isolated, educationally and socio-economically backward, living in a habitat far away from amenities.
- PVTG is not a Constitutional category, nor are these constitutionally recognized communities. It is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with particularly low development
- The criteria followed for determination of PVTGs are: a) A pre-agriculture level of technology, b) A stagnant or declining population; c) Extremely low literacy; and d) A subsistence level of economy.
to select, train 4 of 12 Indians for manned mission
- Russia will select and train four Indian astronauts for the Gaganyaan Mission. In June, Roscosmos subsidiary Glavkosmos and ISRO had signed a contract for the selection and training of Indian astronauts for the Gaganyaan Mission.
- Gaganyaan is India’s first Human Space Flight Programme to be launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by 2022.
- The programme will make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions.
- According to ISRO, most of the indigenously developed technologies required for the mission has already been tested. These include crew module re-entry, crew escape mechanism in case of a glitch during launch, a deep space network and the astronaut’s space suit.
- Space launch vehicle, GSLV MK III will be used for the Gaganyaan mission. It has been modified to fit a crew module and life support to carry astronauts to space.
India pledges to
restore 50 lakh hectares of degraded land by 2030
- India will be hosting the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) from 2-13 September 2019 at Greater Noida, NCR. India is the president of the CoP for next two years under UNCCD
- At its Curtain Raiser Press Conference, Union Environment Minister has announced that India pledges to restore 5mn hectares of degraded land by 2030. This target will be a part of India’s voluntary commitment to the Bonn Challenge. Under the challenge, India has pledged to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020, and additional 8 million hectares by 2030.
- The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. It was launched in 2011 by the Government of Germany and IUCN, and later endorsed and extended by the New York Declaration on Forests at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.
- The Environment Minister further stated that there would be a ‘New Delhi Declaration’ at the end of CoP14. The declaration would be a common resolve of 196 countries on how to stop land from being degraded and how to quickly restore existing degraded land.
- India will also set up a centre of excellence at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. It will act as a nodal centre for research on issues relating to solving problems of land degradation, drought and desertification.
- UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. It was established in 1994.
- The Convention entered into force in December 1996. It is one of the three Rio Conventions along with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- UNCCD seeks to work towards combating desertification, maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity and mitigating the effects of drought.
govt to table Anti-lynching bill
- The West Bengal government has decided to table the West Bengal Prevention of Lynching Bill, 2019 in the State Assembly.
- It proposes three categories of punishment: a) maximum three-year jail and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh if the act leads to the victim “suffering hurt”; b) 10 years and up to Rs 3 lakh in case of “grievous hurt”; and c) “rigorous imprisonment for life and fine not less than Rs 1 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh” in case of death.
- The Bill also proposes a maximum one-year jail term and a fine up to Rs 50,000 for those who spread or publish or communicate “offensive material”. It also proposes a jail term of maximum of three years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh for those who create “a hostile environment for a person or a group of persons”.
- The bill further states that the state will provide protection to victims, who can also choose any advocate from the legal aid panel under the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. The state will also provide free medical treatment and provide compensation as per the Compensation Scheme.
- It states that cases of lynching will only be investigated by police officers above the rank of inspector, except under “special circumstances”.
- It also proposes to set up a special task force with a state co-ordinator not below IG-rank and nodal officers to prevent incidents of lynching.
- Recently, the Rajasthan government had passed a mob lynching law- Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019. Further, State Law Commission in Uttar Pradesh drafted the UP Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019, and submitted it to Chief Minister.
not on track to meet 2020 milestone for malaria control: WHO
- According to the report by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme), the world is not on track to meet the target of eliminating malaria.
- The report also noted that currently, less than one per cent of the global funds for health R&D investment are allocated to develop tools to fight malaria
- The world needed an estimated $4.4 billion in 2017 and needs $6.6 billion by 2020. However, in 2017, global funding for malaria control and elimination fell short by $1.3 billion
- In 2015, the World Health Assembly approved a Global Technical Strategy for Malaria to eliminate malaria by 2030. The strategy targeted 2020 to eliminate malaria in at least 10 countries.
- In 2016, WHO launched E-2020 initiative to scale up efforts eliminate malaria by 2020. The 21 countries were identified by WHO in 2016 as having the potential to become malaria-free by 2020. India is not among the 21 countries under E-2020 initiative.
- Four countries from Asia — China, Iran, Malaysia and Timor-Leste — and El Salvador from South America reported no indigenous cases of malaria in 2018. Algeria and Argentina were declared as malaria-free in May 2019. The countries were part of E-2020 initiative.
- Malaria is disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- According to the World Malaria Report 2018, more than 200 million people were affected by malaria in 2017. India (4%) along with Nigeria Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Uganda accounted for nearly 50% of all malaria cases worldwide.
- Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has launched a mobile application called “Janaushadhi Sugam”
- The app would have user-friendly options like- to locate nearby Janaushadhi Kendra, direction guidance for location of the Janaushadhi Kendra through Google Map, search Janaushadhi generic medicines, analyse product comparison of Generic vs. Branded medicine in form of MRP & overall Savings, etc.
- Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses. Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementation agency for PMBJP.
- Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has also announced that Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkins will now be available at Re. 1. The GoI launched “Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin” at Rs 2.50 per pad in 2018.
Department, NACO sign MoU to enhance outreach on HIV/AIDS
- A Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) was signed between the Department of Social Justice and National AIDS Control Organization(NACO),Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- The MoU aims at reducing the incidence of social stigma and discrimination against victims of drug abuse and children and people living with HIV/AIDS.
- The agreement will also help in (a)developing specific strategies and action plans for HIV/AIDS prevention (b)mechanisms for drug addiction treatment and (c)extending social protection schemes to the vulnerable population.
- India has seen more than 80% decline in estimated new infections from the peak of the epidemic in 1995.Similarly,estimated AIDS-related death has also declined by 71% since its peak in 2005.The Indian government has also set a goal to eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2030.
- The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) was established in 1992.It is a part of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- NACO is the nodal organisation for the formulation of policy and implementation of programs for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in India.
Resource Efficiency Policy, 2019
- Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have extended the timeline to invite comments on Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP).
- Resource efficiency means using the Earth’s limited resources in a sustainable manner while minimising impacts on the environment.It allows us to create more with fewer materials.
- The NREP envisions a future with (a)environmentally sustainable and equitable economic growth (b)resource security (c)healthy environment and (d)restored ecosystems with rich ecology and biodiversity.
- The draft policy suggests setting up a ‘National Resource Efficiency Authority’(NREA) to (a)develop an action plan with three years time-frame (b)create and maintain database (c)measure progress and (d)build capacities.
- The policy also seeks to constitute an inter-ministerial body named National Resource Efficiency Advisory Board(NREAB) for coordination among different agencies.
- The policy also plans to offer (a)tax benefits on recycled materials (b) green loans to small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) and (c)soft loans to construct waste disposal facilities.
- The policy also pitches for moving towards ‘zero landfill’ approach in the country.This means imposing ‘landfill taxes’ and ‘high tipping fees’ on bulk generators of waste so that they can move towards optimal use of materials and better waste management.
- The policy seeks to drive the country towards circular economy through efficient use of available material resources based on principle of 6R and ‘green public procurement’.
- The 6R stands for reduce, reuse, recycle, redesign, re-manufacture and refurbish.On the other hand,‘green public procurement’ means to procure products with lower environmental footprints such as secondary raw materials and locally sourced materials.
to consider relaxing FDI norms in single brand retail, digital media
- The Union Cabinet is considering proposal to relax foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in several sectors.
- The sectors include (a)single-brand retail (b)digital media (c)coal mining and (d)contract manufacturing.
- In the existing FDI policy,100% foreign direct investment is permitted in the manufacturing sector under the automatic route.But the policy does not talk about contract manufacturing.
- Similarly,the government is looking at coming out with a clarification on the applicability of the foreign direct investment policy on the digital media sector.The present FDI policy is silent on the fast-growing digital media segment.
- In the single-brand retail sector,the Cabinet will consider a proposal for relaxing rules for complying with the mandatory 30% local sourcing norms by foreign single-brand retailers.
- According to the proposal,single-brand retail firms would also be permitted to open online stores before setting up brick-and-mortar shops.Currently,online sales by single-brand retail players is allowed only after the opening of physical outlets.
- In the coal mining sector,foreign players would be allowed to mine coal and sell it. Currently, FDI is permitted for captive coal mining only.
to be on cooperation in Russian Far East during Modi-Putin meet: Indian envoy
- Indian Prime minister will be visiting the Russian city of Vladivostok as the guest of honour at Eastern Economic Forum(EEF).The bilateral summit will also be held on the sidelines of the EEF.
- During the bilateral summit,the two countries will not only consolidate the traditional areas of cooperation namely defence, nuclear, space and energy but will also add new pillars of cooperation.
- Russian Far East will be part of that cooperation.Russian Far East comprises the eastern Russian territory between Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.
- The Indian trade and investment in the Russian far east region has been rising slowly in diamond cutting and polishing,coal mine development as well as pulp industries.
- Strategically too,deeper involvement of Indian business in the Russian Far East works well for both countries.For Russia,it prevents China from taking advantage of the region.For India,the investments are akin to marking a territory in a vital region.
- The Eastern Economic Forum was established by Russia in 2015.It is considered as the biggest international communication platform for cooperation between business leaders and senior government representatives from Russia,the Pacific Region and the ASEAN.
capital framework every five years, says Jalan Committee
- RBI had constituted a panel on economic capital framework to address the issue of RBI reserves.The panel was headed by Bimal Jalan.
- Economic capital framework refers to the risk capital required by the central bank as a counter against unforeseen risks or events or losses in the future.
- The committee has recommended a review of the Economic Capital Framework every five years.However,in case of a significant change in the RBI’s risks and operating environment,an intermediate review may be considered.
- The committee has also suggested that an interim dividend to the government must only be made in exceptional circumstances.
- The Committee has recommended the alignment of the financial year of RBI with the fiscal year of the government for greater cohesiveness in various projections and publications brought out by RBI.
- The panel has also suggested a clearer distinction between the two components of economic capital namely (a)realised equity and (b)revaluation balances.
- Revaluation reserves comprise of periodic marked-to-market notional gains or losses in values of foreign currencies and gold, foreign securities and rupee securities and a contingency fund.
- Realized equity is a form of a contingency fund for meeting all risks or losses primarily built up from retained earnings.It is also called the Contingent Risk Buffer(CBR).
- The panel has given a range of 5.5-6.5% of RBI’s balance sheet for Contingent Risk Buffer(CBR).Hence,the RBI has decided to set the CBR level at 5.5% of the balance sheet.
guidelines to be mandatory under consumer protection law
- The government has decided to make the draft e-commerce guidelines mandatory under the new Consumer Protection Act,2019.
- The E commerce guidelines will be applicable on all business to consumer(B2C) e-commerce platforms.
- The guidelines seeks to protect personally-identifiable information of customers and set a 14-day limit for payments toward refund requests.
- The Consumer Act also sets up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce consumer rights.It would have the power to take action against violating firms.
- The E commerce platforms are also required to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty, delivery and mode of payments.
- The guidelines also proposes to make it mandatory for e-commerce entities to accept returns in the event the products delivered are defective, wrong or spurious or if they do not have the characteristics or features advertised.
- Further,every e-commerce entity has to publish the contact details of its grievance officer who would have to address complaints within one month from the date of receipt.
- The e-commerce sector in India has been witnessing an explosive growth fuelled by an increase in the number of online users,growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms.
- According to a Morgan Stanley report,India is adding one internet user every three seconds and the e-commerce sector in India is estimated to reach $230 billion by 2028, accounting for 10% of India’s retail market.
- The Seventh Community Radio Sammelan is being held in New Delhi.The Sammelan has been organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
- The sammelan is centred on the theme of Community Radio for Sustainable Development Goals(SDG).
- Community Radio Stations from across the country is participating in it. They have discussed their experiences and the possibilities of programmes based on SDGs to raise awareness about the subject.
- During the sammelan,the minister asserted that each district in the country should at least have one community radio to sensitize local people about various social and developmental issues around their community.
- The Community radio is a radio service offering a third model of radio broadcasting in addition to commercial and public broadcasting.They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local,specific audience.
- Community radio stations are operated owned and influenced by the communities they serve.They are generally nonprofit and provide a mechanism for enabling individuals,groups and communities to tell their own stories to share experiences and in a media-rich world to become creators and contributors of media.
of press can’t be one-way traffic,says SC in defamation case
- Recently,the Supreme Court judge has observed that Freedom of the press is supreme but it cannot be one-way traffic.
- This observation came after the apex court allowed a news portal to withdraw its plea against proceedings in a defamation case filed by a petitioner.
- In India,freedom of the press has been treated as part of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.
- However,the freedom of the press is not absolute.The restrictions that apply to the freedom of speech and expression also apply to the freedom of press and media.
- Article 19(2) provides reasonable restrictions on the following grounds: (a)sovereignty and integrity of India (b)the security of the State (c)friendly relations with foreign States (d)public order (e)decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court (f)defamation or incitement to an offence.
- Further,Press which is the fourth pillar of democracy has been facing serious challenges such as (a)Paid News which is a nexus between media persons and politicians (b)Corporate and political lobbying and ownership (c)Yellow journalism means unnecessary sensationalization of news to fetch TRP (d)weak regulation (e)media trials among others.
Taxes Code panel for status quo on LTCG tax, STT; wants DDT to go
- Government had constituted a committee to draft a new direct tax law to replace the existing Income Tax Act,1961.The committee was headed by Akhilesh Ranjan.It has submitted its report to the government.
- The task force has recommended retaining the long-term capital gains (LTCG) tax and the securities transaction tax(STT) while abolishing the dividend distribution tax(DDT).
- The proposed move to withdraw the DDT would help encourage investments by addressing multiple taxation of income and by bringing down the effective tax rate on companies.
- A dividend is a return given by a company to its shareholders out of the profits earned by the company in a particular year.They are usually given in proportion to the number of shares owned.
- Dividend distribution tax is the tax imposed by the Indian Government on indian companies according to the dividend paid to a company’s investors.At present,the DDT is 15%.
- Besides,the task force has proposed to retain the securities transaction tax(STT) for its simplicity in collection and assured revenues.The STT is a direct tax payable on the value of taxable securities transactions done through a stock exchange.
- Further,Long term capital gains(LTCG) tax refer to the gains made on any class of asset held for a particular period of time.In case of equity shares, it refers to the gains made on stocks held for more than one year.
- In other words,if the shares are bought and held for more than a year before selling, then the gains, if any, on the said sale are referred to as long term capital gains or LTCG.
will be linked with Wi-Fi through GramNet soon
- During the 36th Foundation Day celebrations of Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT),the government has said that it is committed to providing Wi-Fi in all the villages through GramNet.
- GramNet is a part of National Broadband Mission to secure universal broadband access.It aims at connecting all key rural development institutions with speed of 10 Mbps upgradeable upto 100 Mbps.
- C-DOT has also launched three innovations during Foundation Day Celebrations which are (1)C-Sat-Fi (C-DOT Satellite WiFi) (2)XGS PON (10 G Symmetrical Passive Optical Network) and (3)C-DOT’s Interoperable Set Top Box (CiSTB).
- C-Sat-Fi is based on the optimal utilization of wireless and satellite communication to extend connectivity to the remote islands and difficult terrains.
- XGSPON is an effective solution to fulfil the rapidly increasing demands of high network speeds for applications like IPTV, HD Video Streaming, Online Gaming and other cloud based services.
- CiSTB is based on a portable smart card like a mobile SIM, this solution will revolutionize the experience of the Cable TV operators by offering them a high degree of choice, ease and convenience without having to replace the once installed set up box(STB).
- C-DOT was established in 1984 as an autonomous Telecom R&D centre of DoT,Govt. of India.It is a registered society under the Societies Registration Act,1860.
- It is also registered public funded research institution with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research(DSIR),Ministry of Science &Technology,Government of India.
Secretary holds meet to take Central schemes to J&K
- Parliament has passed the Presidential order which effectively abrogates the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the provision of Article 370.
- It has also passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act,2019. The bill bifurcates the State into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir(with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
- The Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a lieutenant governor and a 107-member assembly which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise.But the 24 seats of the assembly will continue to remain vacant as the seats fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK).
- The 5th Schedule of the J&K Reorganisation Act lists a total of 106 central laws that will be applicable to the union territories of J&K and Ladakh.As many as 153 laws of the state of J&K were also repealed alongside.
- However,the government is examining whether several central legislations may have to be amended separately to remove the exception made for J&K or can the same be done for all laws under a single umbrella legislation.
Rouhani says no talks with US until sanctions lifted
- Iranian president has ruled out meeting US President until the US lifts sanctions on Iran.
- This statement came after French President has said that he would try to arrange a meeting between US President and Iran to ease the strained relationship between the two countries.
- The US and Iran have been locked in a stand-off since US unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear accord Iran signed with world powers and imposed crippling sanctions.
- However,the other five nations including France has remained committed to the deal but Iran has started to increase its nuclear activity in response to the US reinstating economic sanctions.
- Hence,French President has urged US President to offer some sort of relief to Iran such as lifting sanctions on oil sales to China and India or establishing a new credit line to enable exports.
- Iran Nuclear deal was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group (US,UK, France, Russia, China and Germany).It restricts Iran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting most economic sanctions against it.
- The key provisions of the nuclear deal are (a)Limits on uranium enrichment (b)Limits on number of nuclear centrifuges (centrifuge is a device used to enrich uranium) (c)Restrictions on plutonium enrichment (d)Allowing International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) for inspections.