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
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.
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).
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.
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 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 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
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.
The West Bengal government has decided to
table the West Bengal Prevention of Lynching Bill, 2019 in the State
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Recently,the Supreme Court judge has
observed that Freedom of the press is supreme but it cannot be one-way
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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)