19th March, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
(DOWNLOAD THE PDF AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)
(Facts that can be asked in prelims)
Issue: Russian President Vladimir Putin won a landslide re-election victory on Sunday, extending his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years at a time when his ties with the West are on a hostile trajectory.
Putin’s thumping victory will extend his total time in office to nearly a quarter of a century, until 2024
‘India’s manufacturing conundrum’
(GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: According to Paul Krugman, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2008 for his work on international trade theory, India has got to move millions of people off the land into some kind of regular job, and manufacturing probably fits the bill. Also, the answer to the employment requirement of developing nations with a large rural population lies in investing in rural areas and partly, in migration.
Overview of Indian manufacturing sector
The manufacturing sector has contributed little to income growth and its share in total merchandise exports has been declining. Manufacturing has not brought much new employment, and most of the recent rise in manufacturing employment has been in the informal sector, where workers are not covered by social security arrangements.
Productivity of the manufacturing sector is low, partly because the relatively small size of manufacturing firms makes it difficult to exploit economies of scale. Despite abundant, low-skilled and relatively cheap labour, Indian manufacturing is surprisingly capital and skill intensive. Furthermore, firms have little incentive to grow, since by staying small they can avoid taxes and complex labour regulations. Land acquisition is slow, companies face frequent power outages and transport infrastructure is below par. This is especially harmful as manufacturing is highly reliant on well-functioning infrastructure.
Stronger manufacturing would increase productivity and make growth more inclusive, while contributing to improved current account balance. In particular, India should aim for more formal jobs, as these tend to be the most secure and of highest productivity.
About Paul Krugman
Paul Robin Krugman is an American economist who is currently Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography
‘Vehicle scrapping policy’
(GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The central government’s ambitious vehicle scrapping policy will become compulsory for all commercial vehicles from 2020 onwards and their life will be capped at 20 years
About the policy
The plan is to try and get the GST Council to consider a lower goods and services tax, or GST, on new commercial vehicles bought against a scrapped one, from the current rate of 28% to between 12% and 18%. Vehicle manufacturers will also offer a discount on purchases against scrapped vehicles.
There are 700,000 trucks, buses and taxis manufactured before 31 December 2000 that contribute 15-20% of vehicular pollution, according to an analysis by AT Kearney based on data from Central Pollution Control Board and Union road ministry’s emission norms.
About Central Pollution Control Board
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, (i) to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and (ii) to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.
Air Quality Monitoring is an important part of the air quality management. The National Air Monitoring Programme (NAMP) has been established with objectives to determine the present air quality status and trends and to control and regulate pollution from industries and other source to meet the air quality standards. It also provides background air quality data needed for industrial siting and towns planning.
Besides this, CPCB has an automatic monitoring station at ITO Intersection in New Delhi. At this station Resirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) are being monitored regularly. This information on Air Quality at ITO is updated every week.
Fresh water is a finite resource essential for use in agriculture, industry, propagation of wildlife & fisheries and for human existence. India is a riverine country. It has 14 major rivers, 44 medium rivers and 55 minor rivers besides numerous lakes, ponds and wells which are used as primary source of drinking water even without treatment. Most of the rivers being fed by monsoon rains, which are limited to only three months of the year, run dry throughout the rest of the year often carrying wastewater discharges from industries or cities/towns endangering the quality of our scarce water resources. The parliament of India in its wisdom enacted the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 with a view to maintaining and restoring wholesomeness of our water bodies. One of the mandates of CPCB is to collect, collate and disseminate technical and statistical data relating to water pollution.
Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Cheti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba
(Facts that can be asked in prelims)
These festivals are celebrated in a wide variety of ways in different parts of our country; these festivals reflect our diversity and yet underline the unity of the nation. These festivals strengthen the bonds of fraternity among people in various regions of our country
Ugadi is the New Year’s Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra, states in India. It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra. The same day is observed as a New Year by Hindus in many other parts of India. For example, it is called Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. Cheti Chand is a festival which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year for the Sindhi Hindus
Navreh. Kashmiri Pandits celebrate their New Year’s Day on the first day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra (Mar–Apr) and call it Navreh – the word navreh, derived from the Sanskrit nava varsha, literary meaning ‘new year’. Sajibu Nongma Pānba, also called Meetei Cheiraoba or Sajibu Cheiraoba, is the lunar New Year festival of the people who follow the sanamahism religion of the Indian state of Manipur.
(GS2: Bilateral ties)
Issue: India and Japan, two of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, are coming together to address disaster risk. Over a two-day workshop beginning here on Monday, 19th March, experts will discuss issues pertaining to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), especially earthquakes.
Need for such an exercise
Japan is situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire and is highly susceptible to earthquakes. Given its long history of devastating earthquakes, Japan has a very high level of community awareness. Its technological know-how, especially in the area of earthquake risk reduction, is among the most advanced in the world.
India is rapidly urbanising and a massive investment in the infrastructure sector is imminent. As nearly 59% of India’s landmass is prone to moderate to severe earthquakes, it will not only save lives in the event of an earthquake but also make for great economic sense that this investment is made earthquake resilient.
The workshop will present an opportunity to explore as to how Japan invests in making its infrastructure resilient to present and future disaster risks. It will also help understand recent advancements in Japan in the area of earthquake detection and early warning systems and adapt them to India’s context. This will play a vital role in enhancing preparedness and response at every level.
Six technical sessions will be held during the workshop –
- i) Disaster Management Policy Framework – Policy Framework (Historical Background, Institution, National Strategy, National Plan for Nankai Trough Earthquake, etc.)
- ii) Risk Assessment – How do earthquakes occur? To what extent can these be predicted? Which kind of earthquakes is likely to occur in Japan and India?
iii) Disaster Resilient Infrastructure – How does policy respond to strengthen infrastructure, in particular, water-related protective infrastructure?
- iv) Early Warning System – How does it work? How to communicate early warning to citizens? How does the national government respond following the early warning?
- v) Preparedness/Response at sub-national level – How do sub-national governments prepare for and respond to earthquakes? How do local communities develop their resilience by planning in advance?
- vi) Approaches by private sector -What kind of technologies and services can private sector offer to reduce damage and loss by earthquakes? What is the socio-economic impact of those technologies and service?
Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action. It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).
The Sendai Framework is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. It aims for the following outcome:
The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.
The Sendai Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. It is the outcome of stakeholder consultations initiated in March 2012 and inter-governmental negotiations held from July 2014 to March 2015, which were supported by the UNISDR upon the request of the UN General Assembly.
UNISDR has been tasked to support the implementation, follow-up and review of the Sendai Framework.
The Seven Global Targets
(a) Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
(b) Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
(c) Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
(d) Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
(e) Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
(f) Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.
(g) Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.
The Four Priorities for Action
Priority 1. Understanding disaster risk
Disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment. Such knowledge can be used for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.
Priority 2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
Disaster risk governance at the national, regional and global levels is very important for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation. It fosters collaboration and partnership.
Priority 3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
Public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures are essential to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment.
Priority 4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction
The growth of disaster risk means there is a need to strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take action in anticipation of events, and ensure capacities are in place for effective response and recovery at all levels. The recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase is a critical opportunity to build back better, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures.