02 nd Oct, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
(DOWNLOAD THE PDF AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)
International Day of Non-Violence observed globally (Prelims)
- The International Day of Non-Violence was observed across the world on October 2, 2018, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.
- The day is commemorated every year to disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.
- The UN resolution, which established the commemoration, reaffirms that the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence.
raja mandala: the gulf in foreign policy (GS2: IR)
India’s gulf policy
- India didn’t do the annual engagement at the UN with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
- It’s a pity since the confrontation between the Gulf Arabs and Iran is one of the top international security issues on the table at the UN this year
- It is also the most important emerging regional security challenge for India
Developments at UN
- There is deep opposition in the Arab countries of the Gulf to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran and key sections of the region have welcomed Trump’s decision to discard the deal
- The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ministers from eight Arab nations met at UN to discuss the future of the deal
- The Arab side included the six countries of the GCC as well as those of Egypt and Jordan
- The ministers had “productive discussions” on setting up what is to be known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance to promote security and stability in the region
- The putative alliance is being termed as the “Arab NATO”
- This new organisation, likely to be launched in January, is expected to reinforce the expansive new regime of US sanctions against Iran that are to go into effect next month
Questioning India’s gulf policy
- A question being raised is: Why Delhi tilts towards Tehran, when so many of India’s interests — including trade, energy, expatriate remittances, and counter-terror cooperation — are so heavily to tied to the Gulf Arabs
- Delhi, which denounces Pakistan’s destabilisation of the Subcontinent at every opportunity, never utters a word about Iran’s effort to undermine the regional political order in the Arab world
What should India do?
- Delhi must deal with the rapidly changing situation in the Gulf region, whose economic and political salience for India is not matched by any other sub-region in the world
- Delhi is practical enough to find ways to avoid the effect of America’s Iran sanctions on the Indian economy
- But India’s approach appears bereft of realism when it comes to dealing with the conflict between Gulf Arabs and Iran
- As storm clouds gather in the Gulf, Delhi can’t afford to ignore the deepening Arab fears about Iran and their expectations for a measure of political understanding from India
The road to e-vehicles (GS2: governance, prelims)
Leading by example
- Jharkhand government has recently introduced electric vehicles for official use.
- While 20 vehicles have been acquired for the first phase, another 30 are expected to be added to the fleet in the coming weeks.
- In the current scenario of soaring fuel prices and the spectre of climate change looming large over the planet, it is a welcome step that a Jharkhand government is taking the lead in switching to e-vehicles.
- Clean mobility powered by clean energy is our most powerful weapon in our fight against climate change.
- It is a well known fact that government officials are tremendous guzzlers of fossil fuel.
- It is very realistic opinion that they could exchange their petroleum-based vehicles for electric ones.
Motivation for others
- If other States and the Centre were to follow the example set by Jharkhand, it would have two positive spin-offs.
- First, it would encourage the spread of a transportation infrastructure specific to e-vehicles.
- And second, it would spur the early adoption of e-vehicles by first-time buyers, generating consumer momentum for India’s stated goal of ensuring that by 2030.
- This is not far-fetched as quite a few countries, such as Norway and France, already have a substantial percentage of their vehicles running on either electricity or alternate fuels.
Good Samaritan Bill gets President’s nod (GS2: governance)
- President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016 under Article 200 of Constitution.
- With this, Karnataka became first state give legal protection to good Samaritans who help accidents victims with emergency medical care within golden hour. This law will ensure that good samaritans are not harassed in any manner and face any criminal or civil liability.
- The legislation aims to give protection to good samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within golden hour. It also seeks to encourage people to offer first aid to the victims without the fear of harassment by police and investigations.
- This law makes mandatory for all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims. It also provides protection to medical professionals during their examination as a witness. It also mentions that after admitting accident victim to hospital, Good Samaritan can leave immediately.
- Under this law, Karnataka government will provide financial help to good samaritans who help victims in timely manner. They will be also exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations, in case attendance is mandatory.
- There were 4,80,652 road accidents across the country in 2016 in which 1,50,785 people were killed. Karnataka is one of top five states which saw large number of people getting killed in road accidents in 2016 and 2015. It has been proved that number of road accident victims can be saved if medical treatment is immediately administered during golden hours after accident.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) and India sign $150 Million Loan to Improve Regional Connectivity (GS3: Economy, prelims)
- The ADB and lndia signed a $150 Million Loan to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia.
- Approved in 2014, the program aims to expand about 500 kilometers of roads in lndia’s North Bengal and North-Eastern Region.
- The Program is an important initiative in Regional Connectivity aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through North Bengal-North East Region International Trade corridor by upgrading key roads.
- The Project will reduce transaction costs along the targeted cross-border corridors substantially, creating economies of scale and commercial prosperity.
- This will enable efficient and safe transport within lndia and regionally with other SASEC member countries.
- It will give a boost to lndia’s efforts to promote regional connectivity in the South Asia.
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- The ADB is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966 which is headquartered in Philippines.
- ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
- The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
- The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
- In 2017, ADB operations totalled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.
- The president has a term of office lasting five years, and may be reelected.
- Traditionally, and because Japan is one of the largest shareholders of the bank, the president has always been Japanese.
- ADB is an official United Nations Observer.
Odisha starts its own food scheme (GS3: Agriculture)
- The Odisha will launch its own State Food Security Scheme (SFSS) which would be totally funded by the state government.
- Over 18 lakh poor and eligible people left out under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) will receive their quota of 5 kg of rice at the rate of Rupee 1 per kg .
State Food Security Scheme (SFSS)
- The state government decided to launch its own food security scheme after the Centre did not respond to Odisha government’s request to add additional 25 lakh poor people under the NFSA.
- 25 lakh beneficiaries will be provided with cheap rice under the SFSS.
- A total of 3,26,41,800 beneficiaries were included in the NFSA as per the 2011 census.
- Over 73 per cent of the target for SFSS has been achieved by September 30 and rest will be covered by the second week of October.
- The state government on October 2, 2008 had launched the cheap rice scheme in Odisha where beneficiaries were given rice at the rate of Rs 2 per kg.
- Later in 2013, the price of cheap rice was reduced to Rupee 1 a kg for people living below poverty line.
Assam launches wage compensation scheme for pregnant women in tea garden districts (GS2: Governance)
- Assam govt. has launched the Wage Compensation Scheme for Pregnant Women in tea gardens of the state.
- Under the scheme, each pregnant woman in tea gardens will get a sum of Rs 12,000 so that she can take better care of herself and her unborn baby without compromising the livelihood of her family.
- This initiative will be able to considerably bring down the mortality rate among the pregnant women of the tea community of the state.
- The high Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) among pregnant women in the tea garden areas due to anaemia and other diseases has been a major cause of concern.
- The pregnant women labourers in the tea gardens have to work through their pregnancy till the time of delivery due to crop cycle.
- All temporary, permanent or non-workers living within the tea garden areas will be eligible for the scheme.
Compensation Plans under the scheme
- As per the scheme, the first installment of Rs 2,000 will be provided during the Ante-Natal Check-up (ANC) registration within the first trimester.
- Second installment of Rs 4000 will be credited during the sixth month of the pregnancy and the third installment of Rs 3000 during delivery at a government-approved health institution.
- The fourth installment of Rs 3,000 will be credited during the sixth week post-delivery.
- Those who did not get Rs 2,500 which was deposited to eight lakh newly opened bank accounts in the tea garden areas will receive Rs 5,000 in December.
- Another Rs 2,500 will also be given to those who received a similar amount earlier.