Daily Current Affairs 16-11-2017

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answered Nov 16 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)
edited Nov 16 by prashant1984

Delhi to get BS-VI fuel two years early to tackle pollution

Context- The world’s cleanest fuel will be introduced in the national capital two years earlier than planned, as it seeks to reduce vehicular pollution.

Bharat Stage VI, or BS-VI, fuel is the world’s cleanest fuel available and is expected to tackle the Delhi pollution problem. Graphic: Mint

-Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) fuel will now be available with effect from 1 April 2018 in Delhi.

Government is examining the possibility of introducing BS-VI fuel across the national capital region by 1 April 2019.

Earlier Deadline- Petroleum Ministry in consultation with Public Oil Marketing Companies has decided for preponement of BS-VI grade auto fuels in NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi from 01.04.2018 instead of 01.04.2020.

 OMCs have also been asked to examine the possibility of introduction of BS-VI auto fuels in the whole of NCR area from 01.04.2019.

-Who are main contributor to the pollution-1.A 2016 report by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, showed that cars and jeeps emit less than 10% of particulate matter, while trucks are the bigger culprits.

2. A big contributor to Delhi’s air pollution is road dust, which accounts for about 35% of tiny particles known as PM 2.5 in the air, followed by vehicles at 25%.

3.Other contributors are domestic cooking, power plants and industries.

-PM 2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.

-  Death Caused by Pollution-1.Seattle-based Global Burden of Disease Study estimates that 586,787 premature deaths in India were attributable to fine particulate matter pollution in 2013.

2.NOx, or oxides of nitrogen, are also major pollutants. They are a family of poisonous, highly reactive gases that form when fuel is burned at high temperatures.

-There will be “marginal improvement” in the emission of particulates if the current set of vehicles run on BS-VI fuel as any low-level emission control device with higher level fuel results in improvement in particulate emission.

Feasibilty Of BS-VI in present context- A BS-VI engine can only operate on BS-VI fuel. If you allow BS-VI engine to operate on BS-IV fuel then the engine will get damaged. If you allow a BS-IV engine to operate on BS-VI fuel, the benefit of reduced pollution will largely be lost.

-The National Capital Region has always received priority in introduction of new grades of fuel including low-lead, no-lead and BS-IV grade fuels. Indian Oil Corp. Ltd has already supplied BS-VI standard auto fuel from its refineries at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Panipat in Haryana to automobile companies for testing purpose.

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answered Nov 16 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

The long road to cashless India(GS 2,Government Interventions and policies)

Context- The article talks about debit cards, credit cards and ATMs becoming redundant in the next three to four years.

Introduction- Since demonetisation, the government has been working to make India a cashless economy.

With the ubiquity of Aadhaar, smartphones and the new unified payments interface (UPI)-based apps, it wants to move on from cash to a digital payments economy—where everything from payment to receipt is done online.

- Debit and credit cards has the potential to come true because the infrastructure to replace physical cards, as well as the momentum in the adoption of alternative payment mechanisms, is well under way.

Data related to Various Payment system- 1.Between 2014-15 and 2016-17, the share of PPIs in total volume of card transactions increased from 18% to 36%.

2.In August 2016 came UPI, based on banks’ immediate payment service (IMPS). It linked the user’s various bank accounts to a single mobile application, doing away with the need to recharge a wallet.

3.UPI transaction volumes have increased from 4.2 million i to 30 million in 6 months in 2017 (growing 85% between August and September itself).

Competition between PPI and UPI-1.While PPIs still have much higher volumes (87 million) right now, UPI is eating into their share as well as that of cards.

2.This is expected to continue with the launch of UPI 2.0, which will bring the ease of pre-authorized deductions for recurring payments, like cab rides, to UPI, along with a possible increase in the transaction limit from the present Rs1 lakh.

3.Major PPIs have already integrated UPI into their service so as to not lose customers to competing UPI-only apps.

A prerequisite to a less-cash economy is financial inclusion-1.The Economic Survey, 2015-16 reported that the basic savings bank penetration was 46% across states, on average.

2.The Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) had laudably managed to open 294 million bank accounts as of August 2017, increasing access to the formal banking system for the unbanked masses, but a quarter of them remain zero-balance inoperative accounts.

3.If people received income in their bank accounts and could spend digitally, they could go cashless. But most people work in the informal economy and get paid in cash. Then there is the scarce use of mobile payment platforms.

4.Most product vendors still don’t use a mobile platform to receive payments because there are limited use-cases for digital money.

5. Finally, mobile wallets are largely designed for use on smartphones, and 56% of Indians still use feature phones.

6.Given the frequent power outages, poor connectivity and low income, smartphones have limited utility for most people.

7.Recent offers have reduced the acquisition cost of handsets to near-zero; and survey data from Kantar IMRB shows that only 15% of the current feature-phone users intend to buy a smartphone.

8.UPI does work with feature phones, but it was used for just 0.19 million transactions out of the 9 million.

Payment Bank Contribution-1.India has been unable to increase accessibility to banks within the formal banking system; only 27% villages have a bank branch within 5km. 2.Increase in the number of payment banks can bring the basic banking functions of securing deposits, providing an ATM-debit card and allowing access to online payment gateways.

3.Private vendors are accustomed to collecting user fees for telecom companies and they are now being used to provide last-mile banking services like opening accounts by filling KYC forms, cash withdrawals and deposits.

Way Forward-Interoperability across PPIs may increase adoption by vendors and, therefore, increase the use-cases for people. But the largely informal nature of the economy, the preponderance of feature phones and the old habit of using cash are enduring problems that will keep the cashless economy from spreading outside urban centres for many years.

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answered Nov 17 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

The Tripura model

Context-In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Tripura embarked on a unique path to peace.

-It was not dependent solely on security measures but involved investment in human development and people’s participation in the implementation of socio-political and economic policy as well.

-More than a decade later, the human development consequences of peace have been remarkable.

Peace Process-  1.Economic and social investments and people’s involvement are essential components of the peace process in the State.

2.The landmark repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, in 2015 in the State was an outstanding symbol of the success of this policy.

3.The principal change was a palpable atmosphere of peace and personal safety in the State, even in its most remote reserved-forest settlements.

4. The progress achieved over the last10 years in several indicators of human development — especially in education, health, and employment — is the State’s peace dividend, and is worthy of public attention.

Literacy and Health- 1.Literacy has been described as being “the basic personal skill that underlies the whole modernising sequence.”

2.Separatist militancy in Tripura was an obstacle to the spread of literacy and schooling.

3.According to the Census, the share of literate persons above the age of seven years rose from 73% to 87% between 2001 and 2011.

4.A measure of progress in schooling of the population in various villages is the number of years of completed schooling among women in the age group 18 to 45 years. In Khakchang in 2005, more than 50% of women in the age group had not completed a year of schooling. By 2016, the median number of completed years of schooling among women in the age group was seven — outstanding progress for a decade.

5.Data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) indicate that the infant mortality rate (IMR) in Tripura almost halved between 2005-6 and 2014-15, declining from 51 per thousand live births to 27 per thousand. According to data from the most recent Sample Registration Bulletin, IMR further declined to 20 per thousand in 2015.

Employment and labour force-1.Peace and security enable the expansion of employment and livelihoods.

The growth rate of per capita State Domestic Product (SDP) has been over 8% per annum in eight out of the last 10 years (2005-6 to 2014-15).

2.In the last four years, when per capita Net Domestic Product of India was growing only at around 5% per annum, per capita SDP in Tripura grew at 9 to 10% a year.

3.From last few years,Tripura has ranked first among the States of India with respect to the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

4.Over this period, the average number of days of employment obtained per household in India ranged between 40 and 50 days. In Tripura, from 2011-12 to 2014-15, the corresponding figure was about 80 days a year. In 2015-16, the number rose to 94 days.

5.The unilateral decision of the Government of India to reduce the allocation of resources for the rural employment guarantee scheme has hit the State Government hard.

6.An important feature of Tripura’s economy over the last decade has been a rise in labour force participation and work force participation, particularly among women.

7. This is in marked contrast to India as a whole, where data show a decline in female labour force participation and work force participation over time. National Sample Survey (NSS) data show that in rural India, female labour force participation fell from 49% in 2004-5 to 36% in 2011-12. In Tripura, however, over the same period, female labour force participation rose from 17% to 38% (urban areas showed a slightly lower rate of growth than rural areas).

8. According to NSS data, the female work participation rate in rural Tripura rose from 12% in 2004-5 to 31% in 2011-12. In rural India, it fell from 49% to 35% over the same period. In Tripura, work participation rates rose among males, urban and rural, and among urban females as well.

Way Forward- 1.An important factor in the dramatic rise in work participation rates, especially among women, has been the improvement in the security environment, which encouraged women to enter the labour force in much larger numbers than before.

2. The rise in work and labour force participation rates, particularly among women, is both a positive achievement and a challenge.

 The challenge is to generate adequate employment opportunities to absorb the increasing number of women who will join the work force.

Conclusion-Tripura’s path of development is one that respects administrative autonomy for regions where people of the Scheduled Tribes are predominant in the population, and the principle of unity of its diverse people. An inclusive path of development, one that encompasses the poorest in the population and the most far-flung of forest-based human settlements, is a precious legacy. It would be great unwisdom to reverse or disrupt such a path.

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answered Nov 17 by prashant1984 (23,320 points)

Cabinet approves Continuation of sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)” till November, 2018 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for continuation of Anganwadi Services, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, Child Protection Services and National Crèche Scheme  from 1.4.2017 to 30.11.2018 with an outlay of over Rs.41,000 crore. These are the sub-schemes under Umbrella Scheme “Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)”

Features:

·         The approved Schemes include:

                     i.          Anganwadi Services

                     ii.         Scheme for Adolescent Girls

                     iii.        Child Protection Services

                     iv.        National Crèche Scheme  

·         The Cabinet has also approved:

            i.implementation of Scheme for Adolescent Girls for out of school girls in the age group of 11-14 years, its phased expansion

           ii.Phasing out of the on–going Kishori Shakti Yojana for out of school girls in the age group of 11-14 years.

·         The decision also provides for conversion of National Crèche Scheme from Central Sector to Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the revised cost sharing between Centre and States as 60:40 for all States and UTs with legislature, 90:10 for NER and Himalayan States and 100% for UTs without legislature and implementation of the Scheme through States/UTs instead of existing implementation agencies.

 Impact:

The sub-schemes listed above are not new schemes but are continuing from the XII Five Year Plan. The programme through targeted interventions will strive to reduce the level of malnutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies, ensure empowerment of adolescent girls, provide protection to the children who are in conflict with law, provide safe place for day-care to the children of working mothers, create synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue negative alerts for timely action, encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals and bring more transparency.

Beneficiaries:

More than 11 crore children, pregnant women & Lactating Mothers and the Adolescent Girls will be benefited through this scheme.

Implementation Strategy and Targets:

Anganwadi Services (ICDS) and Child Protection Services are already in operation in the entire country. The Scheme for Adolescent Girls will be expanded in a phased manner. National Creche Scheme will continue to be implemented in 23,555 creches.  Approval for National Nutrition Mission shall be obtained separately.

States/districts covered:

Anganwadi Services (ICDS) and Child Protection Services are already in operation in the entire country. National Nutrition Mission will be rolled out in a phased manner. Similarly, Scheme for Adolescent Girls will be expanded in a phased manner. 

Background:

The ongoing schemes have been rationalized by the Government in financial year 2016-17 and have been brought under Umbrella ICDS as its sub-schemes. These sub-schemes need to be continued for delivering the child related services to the intended beneficiaries. The aims of these schemes are as under:

a.     Anganwadi Services (ICDS) aims at holistic development of children under the age of six years and its beneficiaries are children of this age group and Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers.

b.      The objective of the Scheme for Adolescent Girls is to facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens through improved nutrition and health status, promoting awareness about health, hygiene, nutrition, mainstreaming out of school AGs into formal/non formal education and providing information/guidance about existing public services.

c.         The objectives of Child Protection Services are to provide safe and secure environment for children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, reduce vulnerabilities through a wide range of social protection measures, prevent actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from families etc., bring focus on non-institutional care, develop a platform for partnership between Government & Civil Society and establish convergence of child related social protection services.

d.      National Creche Scheme aims at providing a safe place for mothers to leave their children while they are at work, and thus, is a measure for empowering women as it enables them to take up employment. At the same time, it is also an intervention towards protection and development of children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years.

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