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Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 22,2021

Global Risk Report, 2021

Why in News?

The World Economic Forum(WEF) has released the 16th edition of the Global Risk Report, 2021.

Report findings are based on the Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS). GRPS was undertaken by more than 650 members of leadership communities of WEF (World Economic Forum).

Aim: To highlight the risks and consequences of widening inequalities and increasing societal fragmentation,  due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 and over the next decade.

 Key Takeaways: 

TOP RISK

  • Top Risk by Impact: The risk posed by infectious diseases has been ranked as no. 1 on the list of risks, while in 2020 was listed at 10th place. 
  • Impact of Covid-19: The immediate human and economic cost of COVID-19 is huge. It threatens to scale back years of progress on reducing global poverty and inequality. It will also damage social cohesion and global cooperation. 
  • Climate concerns: Despite the impact of COVID-19, climate-related matters make up the bulk of this year’s risk list. The report has described these threats as an existential threat to humanity.  
  • Widening digital gaps: Digitalization which was accelerated by the pandemic is widening the digital gap between individuals and across countries. Thereby it is aggravating existing inequalities, polarization, and regulatory uncertainties. 
  • Intensifying pressures on businesses: Businesses under increasing pressures from inward-looking national agendas, greater market concentration, and popular scrutiny and volatility. 

 Recommendations: According to the report, response to COVID-19 offers four governance opportunities to strengthen the overall resilience of countries, businesses, and the international community: 

    • Formulating analytical frameworks that take a holistic and systems-based view of risk impacts. 
    • Investing in high-profile risk champions to encourage national leadership and international cooperation. 
    • Improving risk communications and combating misinformation. 
    • Exploring new forms of public-private partnership on risk preparedness. 

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Co-WIN platform upgraded 

Why in News? 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced the upgradation of Co-WIN software. It is to cater to more sessions per site and change in site location. 

 Facts: 

  • CoWIN App: It is a digitalised platform by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) 
  • It allows Indian citizens to apply for a Covid-19 vaccine shot and helps agencies in keeping a track of Covid-19 vaccination programmes. 
  • Modules: The Co-WIN app comes with five modules namely –  
    • Administrator module: The admins will be able to track the information provided by citizens of India. They will also be responsible for creating sessions. By this app, respective vaccinators and managers will receive relevant notifications and alerts on the relevant information. 
    • Registration Module: Citizens who are not frontline health workers can register for the vaccine via the ‘Registration Module’. Photo identity will be required for registration. 
    • Vaccination module: It will verify the beneficiary details and update vaccination status.  
    • Beneficiary Acknowledgement Module: It will send SMS to beneficiaries and also generate QR-based certificates after one gets vaccinated.  
    • Report Module: It will prepare reports of how many vaccine sessions have been conducted, how many people have attended those, how many people have dropped out etc. 
  • What are the new features in the enhanced version? 
    • The enhanced version allows planning and scheduling the sessions for the entire week and works for the enhanced safety of the beneficiaries. These new features are being enabled in the vaccinator module. 

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Green bonds  

Why in News? 

According to the Reserve Bank of India(RBI), the cost of issuing green bonds in India has generally remained higher compared to other bonds. It is largely due to asymmetric information. 

 About Green Bonds:  

    • It is a debt instrument just like any other normal bond, issued by an issuer for raising funds.  
    • The only difference is that these instruments are designed specifically for funds to support specific projects benefitting the environment. 
    • Green bonds typically come with tax incentives to enhance their attractiveness to investors. 
    • The World Bank issued the first official green bond in 2009. 

 Green Bonds in India: 

    • Yes Bank was the first Indian Bank to issue Green Infrastructure Bonds (GIBs) in India in 2015. 
    • SEBI has allocated the following eight categories with the tag of green projects:
      • a) renewable energy b) clean transportation c) sustainable water management d) climate change e) energy efficiency f) sustainable waste management and g) land use and h) biodiversity conservation.  

 Issues with Green Bond in India: 

    • Green bonds constituted only 0.7% of all the bonds issued in India since 2018. 
    • As of March 2020, Bank lending to renewable energy constituted 7.9% of outstanding bank credit to the power sector. 
    • The average coupon rate for green bonds in India with maturities between 5 to 10 years has generally remained higher than the corporate and government bonds with similar tenure. 

 Suggestions: 

    • Better information management system in India may help in reducing maturity mismatches, borrowing costs and lead to efficient resource allocation in Green Bonds. 

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Joint Military Exercise Kavach 

Why in News? 

A large scale Joint Military exercise – Exercise Kavach will be conducted in the coming week. 

 Facts: 

  • Exercise KavachIt is a Joint Military exercise involving assets of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and Indian Coast Guard. 
  • Conducted under: The exercise will be conducted under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only Joint Forces Command of the country. 
  • Aim:  
    • To fine-tune joint war-fighting capabilities and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for enhancing operational synergy. 
    • To execute multi-domain, high-intensity offensive and defensive maneuvers in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. 
  • The exercise involves synergized application of maritime surveillance assets, coordinated air and maritime strikes, air defense, submarine and landing operations. 

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Pardoning Powers of Governor 

Why in News? 

Tamil Nadu Governor will make a decision on a plea for the release of a prisoner. The prisoner is undergoing life imprisonment for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. 

 Facts: 

 Pardoning Powers of Governor: 

    • Article 161: It provides that the Governor shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person. But the person should be convicted of any offense against any law which is under the executive power of the State. 
    • Exceptions:  
      • Governor cannot pardon the death sentence (President has the power to do so) 
      • The Governor cannot grant pardon, reprieve, respite, suspension, remission, or commutation in respect to punishment or sentence by a court-martial. However, the President can do so. 

 Different Pardoning Powers of Governor: 

    • Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments, and disqualifications. 
    • Commutation: It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment which in turn may be commuted into simple imprisonment. 
    • Remission: It implies reducing the period of a sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year. 
    • Respite: It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special facts such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender. 
    • Reprieve: It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President. 

 Difference Between Pardoning Powers of President and Governor  

Pardoning Powers of President and Governor Source: LAXMIKANTH

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Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

Why in News?

According to Government data, a total of 1.1 crore houses has been approved under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban), of which more than 70 lakh houses are under various stages of construction and more than 41 lakh houses have been completed.

Facts:

    • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban): It was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs in 2015.
    • Aim: To provide Central assistance through States/Union Territories (UTs) for providing houses to all eligible families/beneficiaries by 2022.

Verticals: The mission seeks to address the housing requirement of the urban poor including slum dwellers through program verticals :

    • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource
    • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy
    • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sector
    • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.

Key Features of the Scheme:

    • Beneficiaries of the scheme include Economically weaker sections (EWS), low-income groups(LIGs), and Middle Income Groups(MIGs).
    • The Mission is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.
    • The houses constructed with central assistance under the mission should be in the name of the female head of the household or in the joint name of the male head of the household and his wife and only in cases when there is no adult female member in the family, the dwelling unit/house can be in the name of a male member of the household.

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Dragon fruit to be renamed as ‘kamalam’

Why in News?

Gujarat government has applied for a patent to change the nomenclature of dragon fruit to ‘Kamalam’.The word ‘Kamalam’ is a Sanskrit word and the shape of the dragon fruit resembles the lotus flower.

Facts:

    • Dragon Fruit: It is the fruit of a species of wild cactus indigenous to South and Central America, where it is called pitaya or pitahaya.
    • Largest Producer: The world’s largest producer and exporter of dragon fruit is, Vietnam. The Vietnamese call it “thanh long” which translates to “dragon’s eyes”.
    • Benefits of Dragon Fruit: Dragon fruit is considered to be one of the tropical superfoods due to its nutrient richness. It is rich in nutrients and low in calories.It is believed to help in the control of chronic illnesses, improves the health of the alimentary canal, and boosting the body’s immunity.
  • Dragon Fruit in India:
    • Being a cactus family it requires long days for flowering. Dragon fruit cultivation is well suited in the agro-climatic regions of Southern, Western, and North-Eastern India that are dry, and frost-free.
    • It was brought to India in the 1990s and is grown in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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