23 th Nov, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘UN Environment award’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: United Nation Environment has awarded Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India with Asia Environment Enforcement Awards, 2018 for excellent work done by the Bureau in combating trans-boundary environmental crime.
About Asia Environment Enforcement Awards
The Asia Environment Enforcement Awards publicly recognize and celebrate excellence in enforcement by government officials and institutions/teams combating trans-boundary environmental crime in Asia. The awards are given to outstanding individuals and/or government organizations/teams that demonstrate excellence and leadership in enforcement of national laws to combat trans-boundary environmental crime in one of the following eligibility criteria areas: collaboration; impact; innovation; integrity and gender leadership.
Reason for WCCB winning the award
- It has developed an online Wildlife Crime Database Management System to get real time data in order to help analyze trends in crime and devise effective measures to prevent and detect wildlife crimes across India.
- This system has been successfully used to analyze trends, helping put in preventive measures as well as for successfully carrying out operations such as Operation SAVE KURMA, THUNDERBIRD, WILDNET, LESKNOW, BIRBIL, THUNDERSTORM, LESKNOW-II
- Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. The Bureau has its headquarter in New Delhi
- Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals; to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank; co-ordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act; assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control; capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes; and advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
- It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
“Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modeling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)” (GS3: Environment)
Issue: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved continuation of the nine sub-schemes of the umbrella scheme “Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modeling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)” during 2017-2020 at an estimated cost of Rs. 1450 crore.
About the scheme
The scheme will provide improved weather, climate and ocean forecast and services, thereby ensuring transfer of commensurate benefits to the various services like Public weather service, disaster management, Agro-meteorological Services, Aviation services, Environmental monitoring services, Hydro-meteorological services, climate services, tourism, pilgrimage, power generation, water management, Sports & adventure etc.
It will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences through its institutes namely India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service(INCOIS).
‘National Commission for Scheduled tribes (NCST)’ (GS2: Statutory bodies)
Issue: The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has expressed serious concern over the news report regarding one US National feared killed by protected tribe in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Calling this incident as unfortunate, the Commission has sought immediate report from Ministry of Home Affairs as well as Andaman and Nicobar Administration.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003. By this amendment, the erstwhile National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was replaced by two separate Commissions namely- (i) the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), and (ii) the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
Functions of the commission
- To investigate & Monitor matters relating to Safeguards provided for STs under the Constitution or under other laws or under Govt. Order, to evaluate the working of such Safeguards.
- To inquire into specific complaints relating to Rights & Safeguards of STs;
- To participate and Advise in the Planning Process relating to Socio-economic development of STs, and to Evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
4.To submit report to the President annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, upon/ working of Safeguards, Measures required for effective implementation of Programmers/ Schemes relating to Welfare and Socio-economic development of STs;
- To discharge such other functions in relation to STs as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify
Powers of the commission
- For Investigation and Inquiry, the Commission is vested with powers of a civil court having authority to:
- Summon and enforce attendance of any person and examine on oath;
b. Discovery & production of any documents;
c. Receive evidence on affidavits;
d. Requisition any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
e. Issue Commissions for examination of witnesses and documents; and
f. Any matter which President, by rule, may determine.
India Skills Report-2019 (GS2: Issues related to Human resources)
Issue: Andhra Pradesh has emerged on top in terms of employability among the states with the engineering graduates having the highest level of employability, according to India Skills Report-2019.
The report is a joint initiative of Wheebox, a global talent assessment company, PeopleStrong, a leading HR Tech company and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Observations made in the report
- The India Skills Report 2019 said that around 70 per cent of the youth face problem due to lack of professional guidance in finding desirable jobs that worth their skills.
- Another insight from the report shows that 80 per cent of assessed candidates are willing to explore internship opportunities as they believe that it would assist them in getting employed in reputed firms, whereas 85 per cent candidates feel they lack proper information or guidance to take a thought-out career decision.
‘World Malaria report’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Among the 11 nations with 70% of the world’s burden of malaria, only India has managed to reduce its disease burden, registering a 24% decrease between 2016 and 2017, according to the World Malaria Report 2018
Progress achieved by India
- With about 9.5 million malaria cases in 2017, down 3 million cases since 2016, India is no longer among the top three countries with the highest malaria burden.
- However, 1.25 billion Indians–94% of its population–are still at risk of malaria
- India has set 2030 as the target year for eliminating malaria. It currently accounts for 4% of global malaria cases and 52% of malaria deaths outside the African region.
- Globally, the progress made against malaria has stalled for the second consecutive year: The annual report produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed a plateauing.
- India’s success is largely due to substantial declines of the disease in the highly malarious state of Odisha, home to approximately 40% of all malaria cases in the country
Odisha government started implementing a programme called Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (elimination of malaria in inaccessible regions): The programme was implemented in eight of the state’s most high-burden districts and involved mass screening for malaria. Positive cases were treated and supervision intensified, mosquito control measures were adopted and regular health education activities were held throughout the year.
Measures needed to eliminate malaria from India
- India has “weak” malaria surveillance and only 8% of its estimated cases are reported in the national system–second worst in the world–as per the World Malaria Report 2017.
- India’s spending on malaria is amongst lowest in South East Asia, less than $1 per person at risk according to the 2018 report.
‘Indian rupee’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Softer crude oil prices, along with foreign fund inflows, helped the rupee post over 1% gain against the dollar on Thursday, giving hope for the current account deficit to remain within the tolerance limit
Impact of this on India’s economy
- As a result, the current account deficit could be at 2.6% of the GDP against 2.8% of the GDP previously estimated.
- If the rupee stayed at 70, petrol and diesel prices could fall by ₹4 or more.
- The strengthening of the rupee gave an opportunity to boost foreign exchange reserves. The total foreign exchange reserves for the week ended November 9 were $393 billion, down by $33 billion since its peak in April this year.
What is Current Account deficit?
The current account deficit is a measurement of a country’s trade where the value of the goods and services it imports exceeds the value of the goods and services it exports. The current account includes net income, such as interest and dividends, and transfers, such as foreign aid, although these components make up only a small percentage of the total current account. The current account represents a country’s foreign transactions and, like the capital account, is a component of a country’s balance of payments.
A current account deficit represents negative net sales abroad. Developed countries, such as the United States, often run current account deficits, while emerging economies often run current account surpluses. Extremely poor countries tend to run current account deficits.
A country can reduce its current account deficit by increasing the value of its exports relative to the value of imports. It can place restrictions on imports, such as tariffs or quotas, or it can emphasize policies that promote export, such as import substitution, industrialization or policies that improve domestic companies’ global competitiveness. The country can also use monetary policy to improve the domestic currency’s valuation relative to other currencies through devaluation, which reduces the country’s export costs.
‘India-Australia ties’ (GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: The Government of Australia has begun to implement a vision document that will shape bilateral ties with India till 2035
Highlights of the vision document
Australia has agreed to implement some important recommendations of the survey over the next twelve months that will include India-Australia Food Partnership, expansion of mining business and greater aviation connectivity.
Australia and India on Thursday concluded five agreements, including one between the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute based in Ranchi, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation, Canberra. An agreement between the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Guntur, and the University of Western Australia, Perth, for cooperation in agricultural research and education was also signed.
‘Oil marketing companies (OMC)’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Analysts argue that the pricing mechanism of OMC is opaque and complex
Reason for such a analysis
Since October 1, the Indian basket of crude oil has seen prices fall almost 24% as of November 21, whereas the price of petrol has fallen only 8.8% during that period. While this disparity in price levels can be explained to some point by the manner in which petrol prices are set in India, analysts say that this does not explain the large and growing gap between oil and petrol prices.
Possible reason for such a discrepancy
The reason is that it is a supply chain of which crude is one part. There is shipping, refining, supply and distribution, etc. Those are relatively fixed costs that do not vary with the price of oil
Various components in pricing add to the opacity behind how the final retail price is determined. For example, if the global price is $65 per barrel, then there are transportation costs, cross-subsidy losses, handling losses, export parity price, dealer commission, and then taxes added to this.