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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 DECEMBER 2019

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 DECEMBER 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Gender parity index.

2. AMRUT mission.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).

2. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

3. Global Refugee Forum.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Broadband Mission (NBM).


GS Paper :1


Topics Covered: Women related issues.

Gender gap index

What to study?

For Prelims: Highlights of the report and performance of various countries.

For Mains: Significance of the findings, gaps and ways to address them.

 

Context: Global Gender Gap Report 2020 has been released by the World Economic Forum.

For Prelims and Mains:

About Global gender gap report:

It is published annually by the world economic forum since 2006.

Global gender gap index is a part of this which measures gender equality across four pillars– they are economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment and health and survival.

Significance:

The Report aims to serve “as a compass to track progress on relative gaps between women and men on health, education, economy and politics”. Through this annual yardstick, the Report says, “stakeholders within each country are able to set priorities relevant in each specific economic, political and cultural context”.

Performance of India:

  • India has been ranked 112th among 153 countries this year. In 2018, it ranked 108.

Performance of other countries:

  •  Iceland, Norway, and Finland occupy the top three spots.

Key findings:

  • Globally, the average (population-weighted) distance completed to gender parity is at 68.6%, which is an improvement since last edition.
  • The largest gender disparity is in political empowerment. Only 25% of the 35,127 seats in parliaments around the world are occupied by women, and only 21% of the 3,343 ministers are women.
  • Projecting current trends into the future, the overall global gender gap will close in 99.5 years, on average, across the 107 countries covered continuously since the first edition of the Report.

Challenges and concerns for India:

India has closed two-thirds of its overall gender gap (score of 66.8%). However, the condition of women in large fringes of India’s society is precarious.

  • It has lost four positions since the previous edition, despite a small score improvement, as some countries ranked lower than India have improved more.
  • The economic gender gap runs particularly deep in India. Only one-third of the gap has been bridged. Since 2006, the gap has gotten significantly wider. Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap is larger than the political gender gap.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

AMRUT mission

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the scheme.

Context: Unable to meet set targets for urban renewal in 500 cities, the Centre has decided to extend the mission period of its flagship initiative Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) by two more years.

For Prelims and Mains:

About AMRUT mission:

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). But, in a significant departure from the earlier mission, the Centre will not appraise individual projects.

The Mission will focus on the following Thrust Areas:

  1. Water Supply.
  2. Sewerage and septage management.
  3. Storm Water Drainage to reduce flooding
  4. Non-motorized Urban Transport.
  5. Green space/parks.

Five hundred cities have been selected under AMRUT. The category of cities that have been selected under AMRUT is given below:

  1. All Cities and Towns with a population of over one lakh with notified Municipalities as per Census 2011, including Cantonment Boards (Civilian areas).
  2. All Capital Cities/Towns of States/ UTs, not covered in above.
  3. All Cities/ Towns classified as Heritage Cities by MoHUA under the HRIDAY Scheme.
  4. Thirteen Cities and Towns on the stem of the main rivers with a population above 75,000 and less than 1 lakh.
  5. Ten Cities from hill states, islands and tourist destinations (not more than one from each State).

Implementation:

  1. AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm-water drains, transportation and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children.
  2. Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  3. States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released.
  4. Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  5. Under the mission, states will transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

Sources: PIB.


GS Paper :2


Topics Covered: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

What to study?

For Prelims: PMU- key features.

For Mains: PMUY- objectives, features, significance and measures needed to sustain the momentum.

Context: CAG report raises concerns about Ujjwala scheme.

Concerns raised:

  1. There is the issue of low consumption, diversions and considerable delays in supply of cylinders.
  2. Encouraging the sustained usage of LPG remains a big challenge as the annual average refill consumption of 1.93 crore PMUY consumers (who have completed more than one year as on 31 March 2018) was only 3.66 refills as worked out by audit.
  3. Similar analysis for 3.18 crore PMUY beneficiaries as on 31 December 2018 revealed that refill consumption declined to 3.21 refills per annum.
  4. There are also deficiencies such as the issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries, and problems with the software of the state-run oil marketing companies for identifying intended beneficiaries and inadequacies in the de-duplication process.

Recommendations made by CAG:

  1. Thee should be scrutiny of the entire LPG database to identify and restrict anomalies.
  2. Aadhaar numbers of all adult family members of existing as well as new beneficiaries should be entered to make de-duplication effective.
  3. Appropriate measures in distributors’ software should be put in place to restrict issuance to ineligible beneficiaries.

For Prelims:

Key features of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.

Key features: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to eligible with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

The scheme gained traction with its ambit being expanded to include 80 million poor families from the earlier target of 50 million families with an additional allocation of Rs4,800 crore.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant must a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
  • Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
  • No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
  • The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
  • The name of the applicant must be in the list of SECC-2011 data and should match with the information available in the BPL database that Oil Marketing Companies have.
  • Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.

Value addition for Mains:

Objectives of the scheme are:

  1. Empowering women and protecting their health.
  2. Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  3. Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  4. Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.

What makes LPG adoption necessary?

To reduce household air pollution:

  • A large section of Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking.
  • A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.

A health threat:

According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.

How can the scheme be made more effective?

The real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas.

Truly smokeless kitchens can be realized only if the government follows up with measures that go beyond connections to actual usage of LPG. This may require concerted efforts cutting across Ministries beyond petroleum and natural gas and including those of health, rural development and women and child welfare.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

What to study?

For Prelims: What is RDA?

For Mains: Concerns over fast foods and measures needed.

Context: A laboratory analysis of most packaged and fast food items sold in India has revealed high salt and fat content, in violation of thresholds set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The study was conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The study found that much of Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is used (or exhausted) by eating these foods.

The results show that in almost all the food CSE tested, companies have underreported the amount of transfats in their products.

For Prelims:

What is Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)?

It is used to understand how much of any nutrient (salt, sugar, fat) should be consumed from different meals.

Most packaged foods fall in the ‘snack’ category and the RDA of this food is, therefore, a proportion of daily intake.

Different_kind_of_fat

It is influenced by:

Sex – In general requirement is more for men than women.

Age– Adult men and women require nutrients for maintenance where as infants and children require it for growth and maintenance. Nutrient requirements during childhood are proportional to growth rate.

Body weight: Among adults requirements are related to body weight and size.

Physiological states- During menstruation, pregnancy and lactation women require some nutrients more than the normal times.

Requirements of sports persons and athletes who perform high levels of extreme activity are high some times 2-3 times the normal times.

Physical activity- Sedentary person needs much less nutrients than a moderate to severely active person.

Environment- Extremes of climate or high altitude alters the need for certain nutrients.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Global Refugee Forum

What to study?

For Prelims: What is GRF, about compact on migration?

For Mains: Concerns of immigrants, challenges and ways to address them.

Context: First ever Global Refugee Forum is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jointly hosted by United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) along with Government of Switzerland.

For Prelims:

What is Global Refugee Forum?

Guided by the Global Compact on Refugees, the Global Refugee Forum is an opportunity to translate the principle of international responsibility-sharing into concrete action.

The Forum will showcase impactful pledges and contributions and the exchange of good practices.

Value addition for Mains:

Refugees situations- concerns and challenges:

  • Refugee situations continue to increase in scope, scale, and complexity. There are 25.4 million refugees around the world, and 85 per cent of them are hosted in low- and middle-income countries facing their own economic and development challenges.
  • Despite the tremendous generosity of host countries and donors, the gap between needs and the resources available to meet them continues to grow.

There is an urgent need for a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees. Refugees and host communities should not be left behind.

What is Global Compact on Refugees?

It was affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018. It represents the determination of the international community to strengthen solidarity with refugees and the countries that host them. The Compact sets out arrangements to ensure that host countries receive predictable and sustainable support; that refugees can contribute to their host communities and secure their own futures; and that solutions are sought from the outset.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper :3


Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

National Broadband Mission (NBM)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the mission.

Context: The union government has launched the National Broadband Mission (NBM).

What is NBM?

The mission will facilitate universal and equitable access to broadband services across the country, especially in rural and remote areas.

It also involves laying of incremental 30 lakh route km of optical fibre cable and increasing tower density from 0.42 to 1 tower per thousand population by 2024.

The mission also envisages increasing fiberisation of towers to 70% from 30% at present.

The mission will envisage stakeholder investment of $100 billion (Rs 7 lakh crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in the coming years.

  • The mission also involves the development of a Broadband Readiness Index to measure the availability of digital communication infrastructure and foster conducive policy ecosystem within a state/UT.
  • It will also strive for the creation of a digital fibre map of the communications network and infrastructure, including optical fibre cables and towers across the country.

Significance:

  • The broadband mission aims to fast-track growth of digital communications infrastructure, bridge the digital divide, facilitate digital empowerment and inclusion, and provide affordable and universal access of broadband to all.
  • It will lay emphasis on universality, affordability and quality of services. The Centre will work with the states and UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure, including for Right of Way (RoW) approvals required for laying of optical fibre cable.

Sources: the Hindu.