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Insights Daily Current Events, 10 February 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 10 February 2015

National Deworming Initiative

The union minister for Health & Family Welfare recently launched the National Deworming initiative. It was launched on the eve of the National Deworming Day (10th February).

  • The programme will cover 11 states including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Tripura in the first phase.
  • India wants to target intestinal parasitic worms among the children to achieve status of being ‘Worm-free’.
  • Albendazole tablets will be given to all targeted children.
  • This initiative needs to be coupled with improved sanitation, hygiene, and availability of safe drinking water for reducing worm load.

Aim of the Initiative:

  • It is aimed to protect more than 24 crore children in the ages of 1-19 years from intestinal worms.

About Intestinal parasitic worms:

They are large multicellular organisms, which when mature can generally be seen with the naked eye. They are also known as Helminths.

  • They are often referred to as intestinal worms even though not all helminths reside in the intestines.

As per WHO, India is endemic for soil transmitted
Helminths infestation.

  • Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are among the most common infections worldwide.
  • There are three types of STH that infect people: round worm (AscarisLumbricoides), whip worm (Trichuristrichiuria) and hookworms (Necatoramericanus and Ancylostomaduodenale).
  • Soil-transmitted helminths are transmitted by eggs that are passed in the faeces of infected people.
  • Adult worms live in the intestine where they produce thousands of eggs each day. In areas that lack adequate sanitation, these eggs contaminate the soil.
  • 241 million children in the 1-14 years group are estimated to be at risk for soil-transmitted helminths or parasitic worms in India, as per WHO studies. They represent approximately 68% of India’s children in this age group.

Parasitic worms have debilitating consequences on the health and education of children, and on their long-term earning potential. Worms can cause anaemia, undernutrition thereby impairing mental and physical development.

Sources: PIB, Wiki.

 

Additional funds sought for TUFS

The Union Ministry of Textiles has sought additional funds for the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) in the current financial year. The total allocation for the scheme in the XII Plan was about Rs.11,900 crore.

Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme:

It was introduced by the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India in April 1999. The scheme was initially introduced for a period of 5 years but is being continued by successive governments. The scheme was relaunched in 2012 and was extended for a period of 5 year upto 2017.

What it does?

  • The Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) provides plan support for modernization of textiles industry in the form of interest reimbursement and capital subsidy.
  • The sectors benefited under TUFS are Spinning, Weaving, Processing, Technical Textiles, Jute, Silk, Garmenting, Cotton Ginning, Wool and Powerlooms.

Important features of the Scheme:

  • A reimbursement of 5% on the interest charged by the lending agency on a project of technology upgradation in conformity with the Scheme.
  • In weaving –

    (i) 6% Interest Reimbursement and 15% Capital Subsidy on brand new shuttleless looms or 30% Margin Money Subsidy (MMS) for powerloom sector.

    (ii) 2% Interest Reimbursement or 8% Margin Money Subsidy on second hand imported shuttleless looms with 10 years vintage and with a residual life of 10 years; (iii) for 30% Margin Money Subsidy – capital ceiling of Rs. 5 crore and subsidy capp of Rs. 1.5 crore would be adhered to encourage adequate investment by MSME sector.

     

  • It is being operated through major government banks, the Small Industries Development Bank of India and the Industrial Finance Corporation of India.
  • 30% capital subsidy in lieu of 5% interest reimbursement on benchmarked machinery of silk sector as applicable for Handloom sector.
  • Investments like factory building, pre-operative expenses and margin money for working capital will be eligible for benefit of reimbursement under the Scheme meant for apparel sector and handloom with 50% cap. In case apparel unit / handloom unit is engaged in any other activity, the eligible investment under this head will only be related to plant & machinery eligible for manufacturing of apparel / handlooms.
  • Interest reimbursement will be for a period of 7 years including 2 years implementation / moratorium period.

For further reference:
http://www.idbi.com/tufs-textile-jute-industries.asp.

 

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, IDBI.

 

OECD asks India to ease regulatory burden for economic growth

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently in its report, titled ‘Going for Growth’, said that India needs to ease administrative and regulatory ‘burden’ on companies and to encourage infrastructure development to promote economic growth.

Important observations made by the OECD:

  • OECD has said that easing administrative and regulatory burden on companies and encouraging infrastructure development would promote economic activity in the country.
  • It has asked the government to reduce labour market duality and simplify labour laws to spur creation of formal jobs.
  • It has also asked the government to reconsider the stringent employment protection legislation.
  • According to the OECD, the FDI barriers have been reduced in particular in telecom, civil aviation, railways, defence, construction and multi-brand retail but said that more needed to be done for efficient allocation of capital.
  • It has also observed that financial reforms are gradually implemented and the Reserve Bank of India has taken steps to increase competition in the banking sector as well as its efficiency but more is needed to achieve a more efficient allocation of capital
  • Reforms are also needed to promote the development of a dynamic and efficient financial sector are needed to support investment and inclusive growth.

 

Suggestions made by OECD:

  • Bank portfolio restrictions should be eased, including gradual reduction in the share of government bonds held by banks, and have a plan to phase out priority lending.
  • Greater participation for foreign investors should be allowed in the financial service sector and the entry of new private banks should be promoted.
  • An ambitious reform agenda should be thought of which will help boost jobs, productivity and support demand. Structural reforms — combined with effective fiscal and monetary policy — are necessary to boost growth.

OECD:

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

Origin:
The OECD originated in 1948 as the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), led by Robert Marjolin of France, to help administer the Marshall Plan (which was rejected by the Soviet Union). In 1961, the OEEC was reformed into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and membership was extended to non-European states.

The OECD promotes policies designed:

  • To achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in Member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the development of the world economy;
  • To contribute to sound economic expansion in Member as well as nonmember countries in the process of economic development; and
  • To contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, nondiscriminatory basis in accordance with international obligations.

Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries. India is one of the many non-member economies with which the OECD has working relationships in addition to its member countries.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, OECD.org.

 

 

 

Right to religion not above public morality: SC

In a landmark judgement the Supreme Court recently ruled that the fundamental right to religion did not include practices which ran counter to public order, health and morality.

Background:

  • It was based on a petition against the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to remove a government servant from service for contracting a second marriage when his first marriage was still in existence.
  • The removal was based on Rule 29 (1) of the Uttar Pradesh Government Servant Conduct Rules, 1956.
  • The petitioner had challenged the constitutionality of the provision in the 1956 Rules, arguing that it violated the right to freely practice his religion.

Quoted the apex court’s 2003 judgment in Javed versus State of Haryana that “a practice did not acquire sanction of religion simply because it was permitted,” the petition was dismissed.

Observations made by the SC:

  • The Supreme Court noted that “What was protected under Article 25 was the religious faith and not a practice which may run counter to public order, health or morality. Polygamy was not integral part of religion and monogamy was a reform within the power of the State under Article 25.”
  • The Court also said that the State protects religious faith and belief. If religious practices run counter to public order, morality or health or a policy of social welfare upon which the State has embarked, then the religious practices must give way before the good of the people of the State as a whole.

Article 25 grants to citizens of India of all religious persuasions freedom to profess, practise and propagate their faith in a way that does not disrupt public order and does not affect public health and morality adversely.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

Yash Bharti award

The UP government recently honoured 56 eminent personalities with the prestigious Yash Bharti award. The awards are for the years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

About the Award:

  • The Yash Bharti awards were instituted in 1994.
  • The award is given to eminent persons belonging to the State in the fields of art, culture, sports, literature, medicine, journalism and social service.

The awards were discontinued when Mayawati assumed power.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

 

 

Mock Questions: (for Prelims-2015)

1)Consider the following statements regarding Yash Bharti Awards:

  1. The awards are conferred by the Uttar Pradesh Government.
  2. The award is given to eminent persons belonging to any state.
  3. It is the highest literary award of the state.

Which of the above statements are correct?

a) Only 1 & 3.

b) Only 1.

c) None of the above.

d) All of the above.

 

2)Consider the following statements about OECD:

  1. It is an international economic organisation of 65 countries.
  2. It is an organ of the UN.
  3. India is not a member of the organization.

Which of the above statements are correct?

a) Only 1 & 3.

b) Only 3.

c) Only 1 & 2.

d) All of the above.

 

3)Consider the following regarding National Deworming initiative:

  1. It is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  2. It is aimed at protecting more than 24 crore children in the ages of 1-16 years from intestinal worms.
  3. India achieved the status of being “worm free” in 2013, as declared by WTO.

Which of the above statements are correct?

a) Only 1 & 3.

b) Only 1.

c) Only 1 & 2.

d) None of the above.

 

4) Which of the following is not true about the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS)?

a) It was introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India in April 1999.

b) It provides plan support for modernization of textiles industry in the form of interest reimbursement and capital subsidy.

c) It is being operated through major government banks only.

d) The sectors benefited under the Scheme are Spinning, Weaving, Processing, Technical Textiles, Jute, Silk, Garmenting, Cotton Ginning, Wool and Powerlooms.

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