Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Jan 30, 2021

List of Today’s Factly Articles

  1. What is “Covid Performance Index”?
  2. Economic Survey 2020-21: “Bare necessities index” introduced
  3. “Corruption Perception Index 2020” – India’s Rank Slips to 86th
  4. Govt. releases new guidelines for banks under “Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act”
  5. Agreement for Financial Support to “STARS Project”
  6. “Indo-French Year of the Environment” launched towards a Greener Planet

What is “Covid Performance Index”?

What is the News?

The COVID Performance Index has been released by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank.

Facts:

  • COVID Performance Index: The index aims to rank the best-performing countries in their response to the pandemic. It measures the impact of geography, political systems, population size, and economic development on COVID-19 outcomes, for a conclusion.
  • Measuring Indicators: To assess the performance of countries, the index tracked six measures of COVID-19 in the 98 countries for which data was available. The six indicators are:
    • Confirmed cases
    • Confirmed deaths
    • Confirmed cases per million people
    • Confirmed deaths per million people
    • Confirmed cases as a proportion of tests
    • Tests per thousand people.
  • An average across indicators was then calculated for individual countries in each period and normalized to produce a score from 0 (worst performing) to 100 (best performing).

Rankings:

  1. India: India has been ranked at 86 out of 98 countries in the index.
  2. Topped by: New Zealand has topped the index followed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, and Cyprus.
  3. Bottom Countries: The United States has been placed at 94 and Brazil at the bottom of the index.
  4. South Asia: Sri Lanka was the best performing nation in South Asia ranking at 10, while the Maldives was at 25, Pakistan at 69, Nepal at 70, and Bangladesh at 84.
  5. Region-wise: The countries in the Asia-Pacific region did a better job at controlling the pandemic while Europe and the US were quickly overburdened by the COVID-19 cases.
  6. China was not included in the index due to a lack of publicly available data on testing.

Factors that played the role in the Performance of countries:

  • Population size: Smaller countries with fewer than 10 million people consistently outperformed their larger counterparts throughout 2020.
  • Levels of economic development or differences in political systems between countries had less impact on the handling of Covid-19 outcomes.
  • Democratic countries have found to be marginally more successful than other forms of government in their handling of the pandemic.

Source: The Hindu


Economic Survey 2020-21: “Bare necessities index” introduced

What is the News?

The Economic Survey 2020-21 has introduced the Bare Necessities Index(BNI).

Facts:

  1. Bare Necessities Index(BNI): This index is a means of assessing equity in economic development among states and regions in India. It uses the basic needs approach.
  2. Indicators: This index uses 26 indicators on five dimensions of basic necessities— water, sanitation, housing, micro-environment, and other facilities.
  3. Data Collection: The index has been created for all states based on data collected by the National Statistical Office(NSO) in 2012 and 2018.
  4. Range: The index classifies areas on three levels of access — high, medium, low — to bare necessities. The index has a range of 0 to 1 where 1 represents the best access to the basic necessities.

Key Findings:

  1. Richer vs Poorer States: The Poorer States have reduced the gap with rich States in providing access to the basics of daily life — housing, water, power, sanitation, cooking gas.
  2. Inter-State disparity in access to the basic necessities has declined in 2018, when compared to 2012.
  3. Performance of States: States such as Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat top the index.  While eastern Indian States of Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Tripura have occupied the lowest positions.
  4. States which showed significant improvement include Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
  5. Richer vs Poorer Households: The access to basic necessities has improved significantly for the poorest households when compared to the richest households.
  6. Gap between Rural and Urban India: There is still a gap between urban and rural India as well as among income groups in access to basic necessities.

Suggestions:

  • There should be effective targeting of the government schemes for the poorer population in both urban or rural areas.
  • There should be better Centre-State coordination with local governments as they are responsible for civic amenities in urban areas.
  • The BNI could also be constructed at the district level using large annual household survey data to show progress.

Source: The Hindu


“Corruption Perception Index 2020” – India’s Rank Slips to 86th

What is the News?

Transparency International(TI) has released the Corruption Perception Index, 2020.

About Corruption Perception Index, 2020:

  • Transparency International publishes this index annually, since 1995.
  • The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption.  Corruption is measured based on expert assessments and surveys of business people. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Key Findings:

  1. India: India’s rank on this index, has slipped six places to 86th among 180 countries in 2020. However, the CPI score for India is constant at 40 this year as well as in 2019.
  2. Topped by: New Zealand and Denmark are ranked at the first position with scores of 88.
  3. Bottom in the index: Somalia and South Sudan were ranked lowest at 179th position with scores of 12.

Source: Indian Express


Govt. releases new guidelines for banks under “Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act”

What is the News?

Union Home Ministry has announced new guidelines for banks, under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. These guidelines are related to the donations received by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and associations.

What are the new FCRA guidelines?

  1. The donations received in Indian rupees by the NGOs and associations from any foreign source should be treated as a foreign contribution. Even if that source is located in India at the time of such donation.
  2. It will include the contributions by foreigners of Indian origin like OCI or PIO cardholders, in Indian rupees(INR).
  3. As per the existing rules, Banks need to report any receipt or utilization of any foreign contribution, by any NGO, association, or person. Banks should submit these reports to the Central government within 48 hours.
  4. Rules cover all NGOs, whether they are registered or granted prior permission under the FCRA.
  5. Any violation by the NGO or by the bank of these rules of FCRA may invite penal provisions under the FCRA Act, 2010.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act:

  • FCRA was enacted in 1976 and amended in 2010. It regulates foreign donations and ensures that such contributions do not adversely affect internal security.
  • Coverage: It is applicable to all associations, groups, and NGOs which intend to receive foreign donations.
  • Exemption: Members of the legislature and political parties, government officials, judges, and media persons are prohibited from receiving any foreign contribution.
    • However, in 2017 the FCRA was amended through the Finance Bill. This amendment allowed political parties to receive funds from,
      1. The Indian subsidiary of a foreign company or
      2. A foreign company, in which an Indian holds 50% or more shares.
  • Registration: It is mandatory for all such NGOs to register themselves under the FCRA. The registration is initially valid for five years, and it can be renewed subsequently if they comply with all norms.
  • Amendment of FCRA Rules: In September 2020, the FCRA Act was amended by Parliament and a new provision was added. It makes it mandatory for all NGOs to receive foreign funds in a designated bank account at the State Bank of India (SBI) New Delhi branch.

Source: The Hindu


Agreement for Financial Support to “STARS Project”

What is the News?

Department of Economic Affairs(DEA) and World Bank signed an agreement for the financial support on the Strengthening Teaching-Learning And Results for States(STARS) project.  

STARS project:

  1. The project would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  2. Aim: To improve the overall monitoring and measurement activities in the Indian school education system through interventions in selected states.
  3. Coverage: The project covers 6 States: Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Odisha.
  4. Implementation:
    1. At National level, Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), Ministry of Education(MOE) will be the main implementing agency.
    2. At the State level, the project will be implemented through the integrated State Implementation Society(SIS) for Samagra Shiksha.
  5. World Bank Funding: The World Bank’s support is primarily in the form of a results-based financing instrument called Program for Results(PforR). This will ensure major reforms at the State level through a set of disbursement-linked indicators(DLIs).
    • A State Incentive Grant(SIG) will also be used to encourage States to meet desired project outcomes.
  6. Verification: An independent Verification agency(IVA) will verify each result before disbursement of funds.
  7. Impact: The STARS project will be instrumental in the implementation of various recommendations of National Education Policy 2020 namely:
    • Strengthening Early Childhood Education and Foundational Learning
    • Improving Learning Assessment System
    • ICT-enabled approaches in education,
    • Teachers Development and Vocational education etc.

Source: PIB


“Indo-French Year of the Environment” launched towards a Greener Planet

What is the News?

The Indo-French Year of the Environment launched for the period 2021-22.

Facts:

  1. Objective: To strengthen Indo-French cooperation towards climate change and environment protection.
  2. This platform would be used for discussions on critical areas of collaboration relating to the environment and allied areas.
  3. Themes: The cooperation would be based on five main themes: environmental protection, climate change, biodiversity conservation, sustainable urban development, and the development of renewable energies and energy efficiency.
  4. Implementation: From the Indian side, it will be coordinated by the MoEFCC along with the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and other concerned Ministries/Departments/Organisations.
  5. Joint Committee: A joint screening committee will also be set up to finalize the calendar of the events for the Indo-French Year of the Environment.

Source: PIB

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