Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 20, 2021

UNDESA report on migrants 

Why in News?  

International Migration report 2020 has been released by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).  

 Aim: To provide the estimates of the number of international migrants according to country, age and sex for all regions of the world. 

 Key findings for India: 

    • Indian diaspora is 18 million strong. It is the largest transnational population in the world.  
    • Destinations: The United Arab Emirates, the US and Saudi Arabia host the largest numbers of migrants from India. 
    • Reasons for migration: Migration from India is largely motivated by labor and family reasons. Forced displacement smaller, about 106 in the total. 
    • Growth in Migration: Between 2000 and 2020, India experienced the largest gain of nearly 10 million. 
    • Remittances in India: India is the main recipient of remittances worldwide. In 2019, it received USD 83 billion in remittances. The World Bank projects that in 2020, the amount will decline by around 9% to about USD 76 billion. 

 Other Key Takeaways from the report: 

    • Migrants: Currently, International Migrants represent about 3.6% of the world’s population. 
      • The US is the largest receiving country of international migrantsfollowed by Germany, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UK.  
    • Impact of Covid-19: Covid-19 pandemic may have slowed the growth in international migrants by around two million by mid-2020.  
    • Remittances: Volume of remittances sent to low-and middle-income countries is projected to reduce by 14% in 2021. 

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 Vaccine Maitri: India Vaccine diplomacy exercise  

 Why in News?  

India will officially start its vaccine diplomacy with the name “Vaccine Maitri” under  its  Neighborhood First policy. 

    • Vaccine Diplomacy: It is the use of vaccines to increase a country’s diplomatic relationship with  other countries. 

 Key Features of Vaccine Maitri 

Vaccine Maitri

  • India will supply Made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines to its neighboring and key partner countries Under its Neighborhood First policy. 
  • Bhutan and Maldives will be the first to get the vaccines followed by Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles.  
  • Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will also get doses once they give necessary regulatory approvals. 
  • Pakistan has not been named as a neighboring country which will get the vaccine.  
  • Vaccine will be Supplied to the partner countries in a phased manner, keeping in mind the demand. 

Earlier Diplomacy measures by India: 

  • India had earlier supplied Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and Paracetamol tablets as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries during the pandemic. 
  • Under the Partnerships for Accelerating Clinical Trials(PACT) programme, India has also provided training to several neighbouring countries to enhance and strengthen their clinical capabilities  

 Additional Facts: 

  • PACT programme: It has been launched for supporting COVID-19 vaccine development activities in partnering countries.  
    • The initiative is being implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council(BIRAC) and Clinical Development Services Agency(CDSA) under the aegis of the National Biopharma Mission and Ind-CEPI Mission of DBT. 

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 Too Big To Fail: Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) 

 Why in News?  

Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has retained SBI, ICICI and HDFC Bank in Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) list or banks that are considered as “Too Big TFail”. 


    • Domestic Systemically Important Banks(D-SIBs): D-SIBs are banks that are Too Big TFail(TBTF). According to RBI, banks become D-SIBs due to their size, cross-jurisdictional activities, complexity and lack of substitute and interconnection. Banks, whose assets exceed 2% of GDP are considered part of this group.  
    • Significance of D-SIBs: 
      • Failure of such banks will result into significant disruption to the essential banking services to banking system and the overall economy. 
      • D-SIB tag also indicates that in case of distress, the government is expected to support these banks. 
      • They are also subjected to higher levels of supervision so as to prevent disruption in financial services in the event of any failure. 
  • D-SIB Framework: The Reserve Bank had issued the framework for dealing with D-SIBs in 2014. It requires the RBI to disclose the names of banks designated as D-SIBs starting from 2015. RBI places DSIBs in one of the 5 buckets based on their systemic importance scores(SISs). 
  • As part of this framework, these three banks have to maintain additional Common Equity Tier(CET) 1 compared to other commercial banks.  
    • CET 1: It is a component of Tier 1 capital that includes ordinary shares and retained earnings. 

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 Global stockpile of Ebola vaccine  

Why in News? 

WHO, UNICEF, IFRC and MSF announced the establishment of a Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile to ensure response to outbreak.  


    • Global Ebola Vaccine Stockpile: The stockpile is led by International Coordinating Group(ICG) on Vaccine Provision which includes the WHO, UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies(IFRC), and Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.  
    • Purpose: The stockpile will ensure timely access to vaccines for countries at risk during outbreaks. 
    • Ebola Vaccine: The injectable single-dose Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV is manufactured by Merck, Sharp & Dohme(MSD) Corp and developed with financial support from the government of the United States of America (USA). 
    • Based in: The stockpile will be based in Switzerland. 

 To Read About Ebola: http://bit.ly/3bWL96g

 Indo-French Exercise Desert Knight-21 

Why in News?   

Bilateral Air exercise “Desert Knight-21” between India and France will be conducted Air Force Station Jodhpur. 

 Key Facts about Desert Knight-21 exercise: 

    • Exercise Desert Knight: Exercise will take place between Indian Air Force (IAF) and the French Air and Space Force. 
      • The French and Indian air forces have been conducting Exercise Garuda for the last several years as part of efforts to boost operational cooperation. 
    • Aim: To provide operational exposure and also help in sharing practices towards enhancing combat capability. 
    • Uniqueness: For the first time ever the both the countries will be using Rafale aircraft in this exercise. 

 Other Exercises of India and France: 

      • Exercise Varuna – Naval exercise 
      • Exercise Shakti – Army exercise 

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 S-400 long-range Air Defence System 

 Why in News? 

Indian military specialists will soon undergo training courses on the S-400 long-range Air Defence System in Russia. 


    • S-400 Triumf Missile: It is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system(SAM) designed by Russia. 

Key Features: 

      • Supply of S-400 missiles is one of the flagship projects in the Russian-Indian military and military-technical cooperation 
      • The S-400 is an air defence systemThe missile can destroy airborne targets within the range of 250km and also capable of destroying fast moving targets such as fighter aircraft.  
        • It is capable of firing three types of missiles to create a layered defence. 
        • The system can engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles(UAV) and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km. 
        • It can track 100 airborne targets and engage six of them simultaneously. 
      • Concerns for India: India is concerned that the U.S would proceed with Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act(CAATSA) sanctions against India over the S-400 purchase from Russia. 
        • CAATSA: It is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. It includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors. 

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 India asks WhatsApp to revoke changes in its privacy policy 

Why in News?  

The Union government has asked WhatsApp to withdraw the proposed changes to its privacy policy. 


 Questions Posed by Government to WhatsApp: 

Government to WhatsApp

 Source: Business Standard 

 Key Concerns over WhatsApp Privacy Policy: 

    • Privacy of Citizens: The policy should be reconsidered to respect the informational privacy, freedom of choice and data security of Indian citizens. 
    • Differential Policies: The privacy policy for European users specifically prohibits the use of any information shared with Facebook. This clause is not present in the privacy policy offered to Indian users. 
    • All or nothing approach: Government has objected to the all-or-nothing approach of WhatsApp. This approach forces users to accept the new service terms and privacy policies, without giving an option to opt-out. 
    • Supreme Court Judgments: Government has reminded WhatsApp about the Puttaswamy vs. Union of India(2017) judgment where the Supreme Court has ruled that Fundamental Right to Privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty and comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution. 

 Further Reading on WhatsApp Privacy Policy: http://bit.ly/38Ww0jk

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 DRDO hands over MotorBike Ambulance Rakshita to CRPF 

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation has handed over MotorBike Ambulance Rakshita to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 


      • Rakshita: It is a bike-based casualty transport emergency vehicle. It has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS),Delhi based DRDO laboratory. 
      • Purpose: The bike ambulance will help in overcoming the problems faced by Indian security forces and emergency health care providers. It will also provide life-saving aid for evacuation of injured patients from low intensity conflict areas. 
      • Key Features:  
      • It is fitted with a customized reclining Casualty Evacuation Seat (CES), which can be fitted in and taken out as per requirement. 
      • Other major features are the head immobilizer, safety harness jacket, adjustable footrest, physiological parameter measuring equipment with wireless monitoring capability and auto warning system for the drive. 

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