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Current Affairs 24 December 2022

CONTENTS

  1. One rank, One pension
  2. Drone insurance
  3. Cervavac
  4. Greenwashing

One Rank, One pension


Context:

Recently, The Union Cabinet approved a pension revision for retirees from the armed forces and their families under the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, which has been delayed since July 2019.

Relevance:

GS II- Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About One rank, one pension
  2. Issues with OROP
  3. What has the SC ruled now?
  4. Challenge to OROP

About One rank, one pension

  • OROP means that any two military personnel retiring at the same rank, with the same years of service, must get an equal pension.
  • While this might appear almost obvious, there are several reasons why two military personnel who may have retired at the same rank with the same years of service, may get different pensions.
  • Military personnel across the three services fall under two categories,
    • the officers
    • the other ranks
  • The other ranks, which are soldiers, usually retire at age 35.
  • Unlike government employees who retire close to 60, soldiers can thus miss out on the benefits from subsequent pay commissions.
  • And since pensions are based on the last drawn salary, pensions too are impacted adversely.
  • Similarly, the age when officers in the military retire depends upon their ranks.
  • Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have the highest number of OROP beneficiaries.
  • Armed Forces Personnel who had retired till 30th june 2014 are covered under it.
  • The implementation of the scheme was based on recommendation of the Koshiyari committee.

Earlier Pension Mechanism:

  • From 1950 to 1973, there was a concept known as the Standard Rate of Pension, which was similar to OROP.
  • In 1974, when the 3rd Pay Commission came into force, certain changes were effected in terms of weightage, additional years of notion service, etc., with regard to pensions.
  • In 1986, the 4th Pay Commission’s report brought further changes.
  • What ultimately happened was that the benefits of the successive pay commissions were not passed to servicemen who had retired earlier.
  • Pensions differed for those who had retired at the same rank, with the same years of service, but years apart.

Issues with OROP

  • It was constantly asserted during the OROP protests of 2013-15 that meeting the demand would be financially unsustainable.
  • The Defence Ministry’s pension budget is quite big, affecting capital expenditure, because soldiers retire early and are entitled for pension for much longer than other employees.
  • The total number of defence pensioners is 32.9 lakh, however that number includes 6.14 lakh civilian defence pensioners.
  • In the fiscal year 2019-2020, the Defence Ministry spent Rs 1.18 lakh crore on pensions.
  • The Defence Ministry has the largest pension-to-budget ratio of any ministry, with pensions accounting for more than one-fifth of the total defence budget.
  • When Manohar Parrikar was the Defence Minister, it was projected that a one-time payment of Rs 83,000 crore would be required to resolve all outstanding concerns.

Challenge to OROP

  • The petitioners contended that the principle of OROP had been replaced by ‘one rank multiple pensions’ for persons with the same length of service.
  • They submitted that the government had altered the initial definition of OROP and, instead of an automatic revision of the rates of pension.
  • Under this, any future raising of pension rates would be passed on to past pensioners — the revision would now take place at periodic intervals.
  • According to the petitioners, this was arbitrary and unconstitutional under Articles 14 and 21.

Source: The Hindu


Drone Insurance


Context:

The nascent drone insurance market in India is seeing a flurry of activity. After HDFC Ergo, ICICI Lombard, Bajaj Allianz, and Tata AIG, public sector New India Assurance has launched its unmanned aircraft system insurance.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Drone insurance
  2. Drone market in India

Drone insurance

  • Insurance players are now offering drone coverage within the framework set by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
  • According to the firm, the ‘New India Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS/ UAV/ RPAS/ Drone) Insurance’ will cover large aircraft to solo flying gliders.
  • Coverage will be offered to drone owners, operators, and manufacturers.
  • The product provides a diverse option of over 15 different add-on covers for customers to pick and choose from.
  • These add-on covers are designed as per the drone industry’s requirements.
  • The policy covers physical damage to the aircraft and its theft.
  • It also provides cover for accidental physical injury to the third party and/or damage to their property due to the aircraft’s operations.

Drone market in India

  • A recent EY – FICCI report, ‘Making India the drone hub of the world,’ indicated that drones and allied component industries can boost India’s manufacturing potential by approximately $23 billion by 2030.
  • The report emphasised the need for innovative and competitive manufacturing capabilities and a strong action plan to help India become a global hub for drone manufacturing by 2030.
  • It also highlighted the importance of generating a strong demand, increasing manufacturing, drawing investments and facilitating exports.
Regulations in the sector
  • The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) initially offered coverage to drones within a visual line of sight (VLOS) and during the day.
  • However, the regulator changed the guidelines to offer coverage beyond VLOS.
  • Insurance regulator IRDAI asked insurers to offer drone insurance coverage in February 2021.
  • Globally, drones are classified as ‘aircraft’ and aviation regulators have stepped in to regulate the sector.
    • The Government of India has brought in policies (Drone Policy 1.0, 2018 and Drone Policy 2.0, 2019) which nudged the DGCA to come out with Regulations – Civil Aviation Regulation CAR 1.0, 2018 and recently, Draft Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems, 2020.

Source: Indian express


Cervavac


Context:

India is expected to roll out the indigenously developed CERVAVAC vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer among girls aged 9-14 years through their schools by mid-2023.

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Cervavac?
  2. How effective is the new vaccine?
  3. What are the challenges?
  4. About Cervical cancer

What is Cervavac?

  • Cervavac was developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India in coordination with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • The project to develop the vaccine was implemented by the then secretary of the DBT, Dr. M K Bhan in 2011.
  • Since then, 30 meetings of scientific advisory groups and site visits conducted by DBT have helped review the scientific merit of the entire journey to develop the vaccine.
  • Cervavac received market authorisation approval from the Drug Controller General of India on July 12 this year.

How effective is the new vaccine?

  • Data indicates that the antibodies that form after receiving both doses of the HPV vaccine can last up to six or seven years.
  • The cervical cancer vaccination might not need booster shots, unlike Covid immunizations.
  • Up until now, the HPV vaccines sold in India were made by foreign companies and ran between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,500 per dosage.
  • Cervavac is anticipated to cost between Rs 200 and 400, making it much less expensive.
  • Additionally, it has shown a strong antibody response against all targeted HPV strains in both dose and age groups that is nearly 1,000 times higher than the baseline.

What are the challenges?

  • The biggest task will be in allocating adequate resources and manpower for vaccinating the massive demographic of adolescent girls aged between 9 and 15, to ensure that they are protected from HPV early on.
  • There is a huge need for stepping up awareness about the disease and the vaccine in the community.
  • Unlike Covid and the vaccination programme, there is very little awareness about cervical cancer.
  • Overall awareness and screening is very low in the community and that is a concern. This is a preventable disease and hence a huge awareness programme is required.

About Cervical cancer:

  • Cervical cancer is preventable, but kills one woman every eight minutes in the country.
  • It is preventable as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.
  • Cervical cancer is a common sexually transmitted infection.
  • Long-lasting infection with certain types of HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer.
  • Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer type and the second most common cause of cancer death in women of reproductive age (15–44).
  • India accounts for about a fifth of the global burden, with 1.23 lakh cases and around 67,000 deaths per year according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO).

How common is cervical cancer in India?

  • India accounts for about a fifth of the global burden of cervical cancer, with 1.23 lakh cases and around 67,000 deaths per year.
  • Almost all cervical cancer cases are linked to certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that is transmitted through sexual contact.
  • While the body’s immune system usually gets rid of the HPV infection naturally within two years, in a small percentage of people the virus can linger over time and turn some normal cells into abnormal cells and then cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Existing vaccines
  • Two vaccines licensed globally are available in India — a quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil, from Merck) and a bivalent vaccine (Cervarix, from GlaxoSmithKline).
  • Although HPV vaccination was introduced in 2008, it has yet to be included in the national immunisation programme.

-Source: Indian Express


Greenwashing


Context:

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor called for a taxonomy on green finance to avoid the risk of “greenwashing”.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What Is Greenwashing?
  2. Effects of greenwashing

What Is Greenwashing?

  • Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.
  • Greenwashing involves making an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than is true.
  • In addition, greenwashing may occur when a company attempts to emphasize sustainable aspects of a product to overshadow the company’s involvement in environmentally damaging practices.
  • Performed through the use of environmental imagery, misleading labels, and hiding tradeoffs, greenwashing is a play on the term “whitewashing,” which means using false information to intentionally hide wrongdoing, error, or an unpleasant situation in an attempt to make it seem less bad than it is.

Examples of Greenwashing

  • A classic example of greenwashing is when Volkswagen admitted to cheating emissions tests by fitting various vehicles with a “defect” device, with software that could detect when it was undergoing an emissions test and altering the performance to reduce the emissions level.
  • A plastic package containing a new shower curtain is labeled “recyclable.” It is not clear whether the package or the shower curtain is recyclable. In either case, the label is deceptive if any part of the package or its contents, other than minor components, cannot be recycled.
  • A trash bag is labeled “recyclable.” Trash bags are not ordinarily separated from other trash at the landfill or incinerator, so they are highly unlikely to be used again for any purpose. The claim is deceptive because it asserts an environmental benefit where no meaningful benefit exists.

Effects of greenwashing

  • There is a growing body of evidence that shows consumer sentiment is slanted toward being green and environmentally sustainable.
    • When a company, product or service is caught or discovered to be greenwashing, there is a general sense of distrust that occurs. Consumers will no longer trust the brand or product in question, and might also begin to question other claims.
  • Companies engaged in greenwashing – consumers will likely choose other organizations that are more ethical.
    • Greenwashing can degrade customer satisfaction, erode brand loyalty and potentially affect repeat purchases.
  • On Planet – Ultimately, the biggest effect of greenwashing is existential.
    • Each act that an organization or individual doesn’t take with real green initiatives has a potential negative effect on the planet.
    • With the effects of climate change continuing to manifest on humanity, there is no time to waste in taking steps to help improve sustainability such that humanity and Earth itself will continue to survive.

-Source: The Hindu


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