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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 10 August 2016


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 10 August 2016


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

 

Govt pledges ‘foot & mouth disease’ free India, extends scheme to 16 more states

 

Seeking to end Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) — one of the most devastating contagious viral animal diseases affecting all susceptible cloven-footed animals — from India, the agriculture ministry has conceived a ‘FMD Mukta Bharat‘ (FMD Free India) programme to cover all the states which have not yet been covered under the six monthly vaccination scheme.

Details:

Sixteen states and one Union Territory (UT) are yet to be covered under intensive FMD vaccination at six monthly intervals. It has now been decided to take up FMD vaccination in these states and UT under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) during 2016-17.

Why be concerned about this?

As per the estimates by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), direct loss due to milk and meat is to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore per annum due to FMD. It could be much more if the indirect losses due to reduced work capacity, abortions, subsequent infertility and sterility (that account for the reduced milk production subsequently) were taken into account.

What has the government done to prevent this disease?

In order to prevent the economic losses arising due to Foot and Mouth Disease, a location specific programme called ‘Foot and Mouth Disease Control Programme (FMD-CP)‘ is under implementation since 10th Plan Period.

Gradually, the FMD-CP was expanded during 11th & 12th Plan Period. As of now, it covers 351 districts in 13 states and 6 UTs — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Puducherry, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep.

About Foot-and-mouth disease:

Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.

Spread:

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.

  • The virus responsible for the disease is a picornavirus, the prototypic member of the genus Aphthovirus. Infection occurs when the virus particle is taken into a cell of the host. The cell is then forced to manufacture thousands of copies of the virus, and eventually bursts, releasing the new particles in the blood. The virus is genetically highly variable, which limits the effectiveness of vaccination.
  • Susceptible animals include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, antelope, deer, and bison. Humans are very rarely infected.

Can Humans be affected?

Humans can be infected with foot-and-mouth disease through contact with infected animals, but this is extremely rare. Some cases were caused by laboratory accidents. Because the virus that causes FMD is sensitive to stomach acid, it cannot spread to humans via consumption of infected meat, except in the mouth before the meat is swallowed. Symptoms of FMD in humans include malaise, fever, vomiting, red ulcerative lesions (surface-eroding damaged spots) of the oral tissues, and sometimes vesicular lesions (small blisters) of the skin.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

LS passes bill on higher compensation for employee’s injury

 

The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed the Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill provides for higher compensation in case an employee is injured in industrial accident and has a provision for hefty penalty in case any violation by the employers.

  • The Bill amends the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923. The Act provides payment of compensation to employees and their dependants in the case of injury by industrial accidents, including occupational diseases.

Key features in the Bill:

Duty to inform the employee of the right to compensation: The Bill introduces a provision which requires an employer to inform the employee of his right to compensation under the Act. Such information must be given in writing (in English, Hindi or the relevant official language) at the time of employing him.

The penalty for failure to inform: The Bill penalises an employer if he fails to inform his employee of his right to compensation. Such penalty may be between 50,000 to one lakh rupees.

Appeals from the Commissioner’s order: The Act permits appeals against the Commissioner’s orders related to compensation, distribution of compensation, an award of penalty or interest, etc. However, this is only if the amount in dispute is at least 300 rupees. The Bill raises this amount to 10, 000 rupees. It permits the central government to further raise this amount.

Withholding payments pending appeal: Under the Act, if an employer has appealed against a Commissioner’s order, any payments towards the employee can be temporarily withheld.

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Parliament passes bill for easier debt recovery

 

Parliament has passed the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill empowers banks to confiscate security in the case of loan default, a development that assumes significance in view of the episode surrounding industrialist Vijay Mallya.

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill amends the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, and the Depositories Act, 1996.
  • The Bill allows a 30-day time limit to clear this application of taking possession of the collateral security. The Bill allows for the time limit to be extended to 60 days, if district magistrate (DM) is unable to pass an order within 30 days, due to some circumstances.
  • The Bill will empower a magistrate to help banks take over the management of a company, in case it is unable to repay loans. This will be done in case the banks convert their outstanding debt into equity shares, and consequently hold a stake of 51% or more in the company.
  • The Bill adds that ARCs may be incorporated under Companies Act, 2013 or any other law and allows the RBI to do this by issuing guidelines.
  • The Bill provides that stamp duty will not be charged on the transfer of financial assets in favour of ARCs. This benefit will not be provided if asset is acquired for any purpose other than reconstruction or securitisation.
  • The Bill allows the RBI to remove the Chairman or director of an ARC if the business is being conducted in a manner detrimental to public interest. The Bill also provides that the Chairman or director will be given an opportunity of being heard, before being removed.
  • It also prohibits the lease or assignment of assets by secured creditor if payment is received by him. In addition, the Bill prohibits these actions if the creditor receives payment before (i) publication of notice for auction, or (ii) invitation of quotation or tender.
  • The Bill provides that secured creditors will not be able to take possession over the collateral unless it is registered with the central registry. Further, these creditors, after registration of security interest, will have priority over others in repayment of dues.
  • It also provides that banks and financial institutions will be required to file cases in tribunals having jurisdiction over the defendant’s area of residence or business. The Bill allows banks to file cases in tribunals having jurisdiction over the area of bank branch where the debt is pending.
  • The Bill provides that certain procedures under the Act will be undertaken in electronic form. These include presentation of claims by parties and summons issued by tribunals under the Act.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Emissions from ships can impact monsoon activity over Bay of Bengal

 

Using surface and satellite data, researchers have found that aerosol plumes from ships produced severe pollution along the international shipping route in the Bay of Bengal.

Details:

  • Researchers found that emissions from ships along the corridor (5-6 degrees North latitude) has directly heated the lower troposphere by two-and-half times compared to surrounding areas and also created a temperature gradient of around 0.1K/day on either side of the shipping route.
  • Satellite measurement confirmed the presence of high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) along the shipping corridor, which is 100 km wide. The measurements were made during 2011-2012. Compared with the surrounding regions, the concentration of NO2 was five times higher along the shipping corridor.
  • Since NO2 can absorb solar radiation, the increased levels of this gas along the shipping route led to more heating of the atmosphere. In addition to gaseous emissions, ship exhaust also contains particulate matter such as black carbon.
  • Along the shipping route, the black carbon concentration was elevated by a factor of four compared to surrounding regions; the lower troposphere solar heating rate was elevated by 0.1 degree C in cloud-free conditions.
  • The emissions also led to increased concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). The CCN (at 0.4 per cent supersaturation) concentration is one order of magnitude (about 10 times) greater in the shipping corridor than the pristine regions of Bay of Bengal.
  • The effects of CCN seen along the corridor may have significant impact on the monsoon activity over southern Bay of Bengal and implications for climate change mitigation strategies.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

  • Gaofen-3: It is a new high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging satellite launched by China recently. It was launched off on the back of a Long March 4C rocket. It was the 233rd flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket. It is also China’s first low orbit remote sensing satellite that has a lifespan of eight years.

 

  • Amitabh Kant committee: It is a committee set up by the government to look at easing the policy regime for e-commerce players, including the rules for foreign direct investment. The terms of reference of the
    Amitabh Kant
    Amitabh Kant

    committee would be to examine various issues in e-commerce sector and making recommendations for further liberalisation of the policy.

 

  • Yaad Karo Kurbani : It is a 15-day programme aimed to commemorate 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement (QIM) and 70 years of Independence. It was recently launched by PM Modi at birthplace of freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad at Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh. The campaign is aimed at developing a feeling in every person that nation is first and individual is secondary.