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Current Affairs 13 January 2022 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS

Contents

  1. Retail inflation accelerates & industrial output falls
  2. Protecting Vulnerable Witnesses: SC
  3. Sri Lanka seeks USD 500-million loan from India
  4. Kala-Azar

 

Retail inflation accelerates & industrial output falls

Context:

Retail inflation quickened to 5.59% in December due to an uptick in food prices, while India’s industrial output grew at a subdued 1.4% in November 2021, according to data from the National Statistical Office (NSO).

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Inflation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?
  2. What is Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
  3. About the recent data on Retail Inflation and Industrial Production

What is Index of Industrial Production (IIP)?

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a fixed period of time.
  • It is compiled and published MONTHLY by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Base Year for IIP is 2011-2012.
  • IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:
  • Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
  • Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods
  • The Eight Core industries of IIP are:
    1. Coal
    2. Crude Oil
    3. Natural Gas
    4. Refinery Products
    5. Fertilizers
    6. Steel
    7. Cement
    8. Electricity.
Significance of IIP:
  • IIP is the only measure on the physical volume of production.
  • It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India, etc., for policy-making purposes.
  • IIP remains extremely relevant for the calculation of the quarterly and advance GDP estimates.

What is Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer.
  • CPI is released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).
  • Base Year for CPI is 2012 and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) uses CPI data to control inflation.
  • The CPI calculates the difference in the price of commodities and services such as food, medical care, education, electronics etc, which Indian consumers buy for use.
  • The CPI has several sub-groups including food and beverages, fuel and light, housing and clothing, bedding and footwear.
  • Four types of CPI are as follows:
    1. CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).
    2. CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).
    3. CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).
    4. CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
  • Of these, CPI for Industrial Workers (IW), CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL) and CPI for Rural Labourer (RL) are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined) is compiled by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
About the recent data on Retail Inflation and Industrial Production
  • Retail inflation accelerates to 5.59% and Industrial output growth slows to 1.4% in Nov.
  • The inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) compares with 4.91% seen a month earlier and 4.59% in December 2020.
  • Consumer food price inflation accelerated to 4.05% in December, as against 1.87% seen in November 2021.
  • CPI inflation surged to a six-month high.
  • The increase relative to the previous month was primarily led by food and beverages, and clothing and footwear, with a welcome moderation in the prints for fuel and light.
  • It is pointed out that the unfavourable base led the inflation for food and beverages to jump to 4.5% in December from 2.6% in November, driven by vegetables and eggs, and that early data pointed towards a ‘broad-based moderation in prices of many food items’ this month.

-Source: The Hindu


Protecting Vulnerable Witnesses: SC

Context:

In a major order, the Supreme Court expanded the definition of “vulnerable witness” in a criminal case, which earlier used to be a child below the age of 18, to include age and gender-neutral victims of sexual assault and witnesses suffering from mental illness among others.

Relevance:

GS II- Welfare schemes

Dimensions:
  1. About Vulnerable Witnesses
  2. About Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre
  3. Other Details

About Vulnerable Witnesses: 

Vulnerable witnesses will not be limited to mean only child witnesses. It will also include

  • Age-neutral victims of sexual assault.
  • Gender-neutral victims of sexual assault, under section 377 IPC (unnatural offences).
  • Witnesses suffering from mental illness as defined in Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
  • Witnesses with threat perception and any speech or hearing impaired individual or person suffering from any other disability.
Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre
  • The top court directed all the high courts to adopt and notify a Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre (VWDC) scheme within two months from the date of this order unless a scheme has already been notified.
  • VWDC will provide a safe and barrier-free environment for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses.
  • The SC asked HC’s to ensure that there is one VWDC in each district.
  • These VDWC should be established in close proximity to Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) centres.
  • Every high court should set up an In-house VWDC committee for continuously supervising the implementation of the present directions and making periodic assessments of the number of the VWDCs required in each district proportionate to the time required for recording evidence of vulnerable witnesses and to coordinate the conduct of periodic training programmes.
  • The initial tenure of the chairperson, said the court, shall be for 2 years.
Other Details:
  • The SC also pointed to the importance of conducting training programs to manage VWDC and sensitising all stakeholders including members of the bar, bench and staff.
  • The SC urged former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir HC Justice Gita Mittal to act as Chairperson of a committee for designing and implementing an All India VWDC training program.
  • The SC also directed the Chairperson of the committee to engage with National and State Legal Services Authorities to provide an effective interface for schemes of training.
  • It also asked the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to designate a nodal officer for coordinating logistical support to the Chairperson.

-Source: Indian Express


Sri Lanka seeks USD 500-million loan from India

Context:

Lanka IOC (LIOC), the subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation in Sri Lanka, had hiked the retail prices of both petrol and diesel by Rs 5 per litre.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important Foreign Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. India – Sri Lanka Relations
  2. History of India-Sri Lanka relations
  3. Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war
  4. Geopolitical Significance of Sri Lanka

India – Sri Lanka Relations

  • India and Sri Lanka share a maritime border and India is the only neighbour of Sri Lanka, separated by the Palk Strait.
  • Both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean.
  • Both India and Sri Lanka are republics within the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • In recent years, the relationship has been marked by close contacts at all levels. Trade and investment have grown and there is cooperation in the fields of infrastructure development, education, culture and defence.
  • In recent years, significant progress in implementation of developmental assistance projects has further cemented the bonds of friendship between the two countries.
  • The nearly three-decade long armed conflict between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE came to an end in 2009. During the course of the conflict, India supported the right of the Sri Lankan Government to act against terrorist forces.
  • India’s consistent position has been in favour of a negotiated political settlement, which is acceptable to all communities within the framework of a united Sri Lanka and is consistent with democracy, pluralism and respect for human rights.
History of India-Sri Lanka relations
  • India-Sri Lanka relations date back to over 2,500 years, with the Kingdoms in Sri Lanka engaging in continuous wars with occupying South Indian Kingdoms.
  • According to traditional Sri Lankan chronicles (such as the Dipavamsa), Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 4th century BCE by Venerable Mahinda, the son of Indian Emperor Ashoka. Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism of any Buddhist nation.
  • Tamils in Sri Lanka, had established Hinduism and Tamil language links with South India.
Indian intervention in the Sri Lankan civil war
  • In the 1970s–1980s, private entities and elements in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the state government of Tamil Nadu were believed to be encouraging the funding and training for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist insurgent force.
  • In 1987, faced with growing anger amongst its own Tamils, and a flood of refugees, India intervened directly in the conflict for the first time.
  • After subsequent negotiations, India and Sri Lanka entered into an agreement (13th amendment.)
  • The peace accord assigned a certain degree of regional autonomy in the Tamil areas with Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) controlling the regional council and called for the Tamil militant groups to lay down their arms.
  • Further India was to send a peacekeeping force, named the IPKF to Sri Lanka to enforce the disarmament and to watch over the regional council.
  • Most Tamil militant groups accepted this agreement, however, the LTTE rejected the accord because they opposed a candidate.
  • The result was that the LTTE now found itself engaged in military conflict with the Indian Army.
  • The government of India then decided that the IPKF should disarm the LTTE by force, and the Indian Army launched a number of assaults on the LTTE, including a month-long campaign dubbed Operation Pawan to wrest control of the Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE.
  • The Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, which had been unpopular amongst Sri Lankans for giving India a major influence, now became a source of nationalist anger and resentment as the IPKF was drawn fully into the conflict.
Geopolitical Significance of Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean region as an island State has been of strategic geopolitical relevance to several major powers.
  • Some examples that highlight Western interests in Sri Lanka’s strategic location are the British Defence and External Affairs Agreement of 1948, and the Maritime Agreement with USSR of 1962.
  • Even during the J.R Jayewardene (1978-1989) and Ranasinghe Premadasa (1989-1993) tenures, Sri Lanka was chosen to build the Voice of America transmitting station (suspected of being used for intelligence gathering purposes and electronic surveillance of the Indian Ocean).
  • It was the massive Chinese involvement during the Rajapaksa tenure that garnered the deepest controversy in recent years.
  • China is building state of the art gigantic modern ports all along the Indian Ocean to the south of it, in Gwadar (Pakistan), Chittagong (Bangladesh, Kyauk Phru (Myanmar) and Hambantota (Sri Lanka).
  • China’s string of pearl’s strategy is aimed at encircling India to establish dominance in the Indian Ocean.
  • Post 2015, Sri Lanka still relies heavily on China for Port city project and for continuation of Chinese funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.
  • Although the Hambantota harbour is reportedly making losses, it too has potential for development due to its strategic location.
  • Sri Lanka has a list of highly strategic ports located among busiest sea lanes of communication.
  • Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port is the 25th busiest container port in the world and the natural deep-water harbor at Trincomalee is the fifth largest natural harbour in the world.
  • Port city of Trincomalee was the main base for Eastern Fleet and British Royal Navy during the Second World War.
  • Sri Lanka’s location can thus serve both commercial and industrial purposes and be used as a military base.

-Source: Indian Express


Kala-Azar

Context:

For the first time in eight years, Jharkhand reported a death due to kala azar in the state, even as the total cases continue to decline.

  • Data regarding kala azar in the state is available since 2014. However, even in 2015, when Jharkhand reported a high of 1,358 cases, no deaths were seen.
Relevance:

GS III- Health, Prelims

About Kala Azar

  • Kala-azar is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a protozoan parasite of genus Leishmania.
  • In India Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing this disease.
  • The Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal).
  • This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world. Elimination is defined as reducing the annual incidence of Kala Azar (KA) to less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the sub-district level.
  • It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries.
  • Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.
There are three types of leishmaniasis
  • Visceral leishmaniasis, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease.
  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores and is the most common form.
  • Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin and mucosal lesions.

The Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated.

Symptoms of Kala azar
  • It is associated with fever, loss of appetite (anorexia), fatigue, enlargement of the liver, spleen and nodes and suppression of the bone marrow.
  • It also increases the risk of other secondary infections.
Diagnosing Kala azar
  • The first oral drug found to be effective for treating kala-azar is miltefosine.
  • The most common method of diagnosing kala azar is by dipstick testing. However, this method is highly problematic.

-Source: Indian Express


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