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Current Affairs 27 December 2021 for UPSC Exam | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. Poverty key factor in determining institutional delivery
  2. Telangana tops in implementation of Rurban Mission
  3. Every third informal worker is registered on e-Shram
  4. Executive shows a trend to disrespect court orders: CJI
  5. India imposes anti-dumping duty on 5 Chinese goods
  6. Study of distant magnetar reveals facets of the exotic star

Poverty key factor in determining institutional delivery

Context:

According to a study, poverty, education, and exposure to a community health worker are more important than age at marriage in determining whether a mother will be able to have a safe birth in a medical facility.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Women and Children, Issues related to Health, Poverty)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the study on institutional delivery
  2. Connecting Institutional Delivery Factors to Age of Marriage
  3. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)

Highlights of the study on institutional delivery

  • The study looks into socio-demographic characteristics as well as impediments to low institutional delivery coverage, which is a critical intervention in reducing maternal mortality from problems after childbirth.
  • It focuses on Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, which are all low-performing states with high maternal death rates.
  • These States constitute about half of the country’s population and contribute 62% of maternal deaths, 71% of infant deaths, 72% of under-five (years) deaths, and 61% of births in the country. They also account for 12% of global maternal deaths.
  • India has a maternal mortality rate of 113 per 100,000, and the rate remains “alarmingly high” in these nine States at 161 deaths per 100,000.
  • As far as barriers in accessing institutional deliveries were concerned, about 17% of women expressed distance or lack of transportation.
  • 16% women cited costs, to be some of the challenges and the other reasons were facility closures (10%), poor service or trust issues (6%).

Connecting Institutional Delivery Factors to Age of Marriage

  • As far as socio-demographic factors are concerned poverty (1.4 to 3.5) is responsible more than twice as much as age at marriage (0.78) in determining whether a woman will seek institutional delivery.
  • Education (1.2 to 3.8) is 1.5 times more important than age at marriage.
  • Among other factors, interaction with a community health worker (1.63) and awareness campaigns (1.1 to 1.3) had a greater impact than age at marriage.
  • However, distance to the health facility (.79) and age at marriage had almost similar influences on institutional deliveries.

Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is a safe motherhood intervention under the National Rural Health Mission (NHM) and was launched in 2005 by modifying the National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
  • The scheme was transferred from the Ministry of Rural Development to the Department of Health & Family Welfare during the year 2001-02.
  • Programme under the National Health Mission (NHM) is being implemented to promote institutional deliveries so that skilled attendance at birth is available and women and new born can be saved from pregnancy related deaths.
  • Several initiatives have been launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) including Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) a key intervention that has resulted in phenomenal growth in institutional deliveries.

The Need for JSY

  • About 56,000 women in India die every year due to pregnancy related complications.
  • Similarly, every year more than 13 lakh infants die within 1year of the birth and out of these approximately 2/3rd of the infant deaths take place within the first four weeks of life.
  • Out of these, approximately 75% of the deaths take place within a week of the birth and a majority of these occur in the first two days after birth.

-Source: The Hindu


Telangana tops in implementation of Rurban Mission

Context:

Telangana stood first in the implementation of the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) that was launched four years ago to stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services and create well planned clusters. Sangareddy and Kamareddy districts stood in the first two positions among the 300 clusters across the country where the programme was being implemented.

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of these policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (SPMRM)
  2. Performance of States in SPMRM and progress

Click here to read about Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission (SPMRM)

Performance of States in SPMRM and progress

  • Telangana stood first in the implementation of the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM), Tamil Nadu and Gujarat took the second and third positions respectively.
  • In Telangana, in as many as 17 clusters (12 non-tribal and five tribal), the programme was being implemented at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.8k crore.
  • Out of 300 rurban clusters, 291 Integrated Cluster Action Plans (ICAPs) and 282 Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) have been developed by States /UTs with a proposed investment of Rs. 27,788.44 (Critical Gap Fund + Convergence Fund).
  • Out of total 76,973 projected works, a total of 40,751 (55%) works are either completed or near completion.

-Source: The Hindu


Every third informal worker is registered on e-Shram

Context:

Every third informal sector worker (33%) in India is now registered on e-Shram portal with registration on the portal crossing the 14 crore mark in four months.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Welfare Schemes, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the ‘Unorganised Sector’?
  2. About India’s Informal Workforce
  3. SC’s observations on need of registration of unorganised workers in 2021
  4. About the E-Shram Portal
  5. Issues with E-Shram portal

What is the ‘Unorganised Sector’?

  • Unorganised sector is a sector which is generally not governed by the rules and regulations that are laid down by the Government regarding the condition of employment.
  • The term unorganised sector when used in the Indian contexts defined by National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector, in their Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector as “… consisting of all unincorporated private enterprises owned by individuals or households engaged in the sale or production of goods and services operated on a proprietary or partnership basis and with less than ten total workers.”
  • The Characteristic features of Unorganised sector are:
    • Jobs in the unorganised sector are very low paid.
    • No paid leaves, provident fund, holidays and medical benefits are given to the employees.
    • Job security is absent as in the case of no work, the employee may be asked to leave at any time.
    • It is the employer who decides the rules and regulations of work.

About India’s Informal Workforce

  • India’s estimated 450 million informal workers comprise 90% of its total workforce, with 5-10 million workers added annually. (As per Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2017-18, 90.6 per cent of India’s workforce was informally employed.)
  • Informal Labour is largely characterized by skills gained outside of a formal education, easy entry, a lack of stable employer-employee relationships, and a small scale of operations.
  • The statistics of the ILO report indicates that 95% of the workforce is in the informal sector.
  • India’s informal sector is the biggest piece in our economy as it employs the vast majority of the workforce accounting for about half of GNP according to Credit Suisse, and the formal sector depends on its goods and services.
  • Between 2004-05 and 2017-18, a period when India witnessed rapid economic growth, the share of the informal workforce witnessed only a marginal decline from 93.2 per cent to 90.6 per cent.
  • Looking ahead, it is likely that informal employment will increase as workers who lose formal jobs during the COVID crisis try to find or create work (by resorting to self-employment) in the informal economy.
  • Further, according to Oxfam’s latest global report, out of the total 122 million who lost their jobs in 2020, 75% were lost in the informal sector.
  • According to the SBI research, the informal sector would account for just 15-20% of GDP in 2021, down from 52.4 percent in 2018. The informal economy in India has been shrinking since 2018.

SC’s observations on need of registration of unorganised workers in 2021

  • The Supreme Court has asked states and Union territories to keep a record of the returning migrant labourers, including details about their skills, place of their earlier employment, etc so that the administration can extend necessary help to them.
  • The SC said that there should be a common national database for all organised workers situated in different states.
  • The SC highlighted that the process initiated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for creating a National Database for Unorganised Workers should be completed with collaboration and coordination of the States. It may serve registration for extending different schemes by the States and Centre.
  • The SC also said that there should be a suitable mechanism to monitor and supervise whether the benefits of the welfare schemes reach the beneficiaries which may be from grass-root levels to higher authorities with names and places of beneficiaries.
  • In addition, the stranded migrant workers throughout the country should be provided dry ration under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Scheme or any other scheme found suitable by the Centre and the states.

About the E-Shram Portal

  • With the help of the E-Shram Portal, the government aims to register 38 crore unorganized workers, such as construction labourers, migrant workforce, street vendors and domestic workers, among others.
  • The workers will be issued an e-Shram card containing a 12-digit unique number, which, going ahead, will help in including them in social security schemes.
  • The government had earlier missed deadlines for creating the database, inviting criticism from the Supreme Court.
  • Targeted identification of the unorganized workers was a much-needed step and the portal which will be the national database of our nation builders will help take welfare schemes to their doorstep, who are the builders of our Nation.
  • Targeted delivery and last mile delivery, has been a major focus of the schemes of government of India and the National Database of Unorganised workers (E-Shram portal) is another key step towards that.

 

Issues with E-Shram portal

  • The portal has come into existence after more than a decade after the passage of the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act in 2008.
  • If inter-State migrant workers are considered, the portal is a little more than four decades late.
  • It has come about after repeated nudging by the Supreme Court of India.
  • Had the Central and the State governments begun the legally mandated processes on time, much of the distress of lakhs of vulnerable workers could have been avoided.

-Source: The Hindu


Executive shows a trend to disrespect court orders: CJI

Context:

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said that the executive showed a growing tendency to disregard and even disrespect court orders, though it was supposed to assist, and cooperate with, the judiciary for the rule of law to prevail in the nation.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Judiciary and Executive, Separation of powers)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Indian Judiciary’s challenges highlighted by the CJI
  2. Suggestions given by the CJI

Indian Judiciary’s challenges highlighted by the CJI

Non-cooperative executive

  • The executive is supposed to assist, and cooperate with, the judiciary for the rule of law to prevail in the nation given that the courts do not have the power of the purse or the sword. While it is the judiciary which comes out with the judgments, it is the executive which will have to implement them. However, of late this has been found lacking in India.
  • The CJI noted that the executive showed a growing tendency to disregard and even disrespect court orders.
  • Also there have been lack of adherence to timelines with respect to appointment to judicial vacancies and prosecutors from the government’s end. The judiciary had prescribed strict adherence to set timelines to appointment process of judicial vacancies in the Malik Mazhar Case
  • The repeated reminders to strengthen judicial infrastructure have not been considered seriously by the executive.

Lack of Judicial impact assessment of laws

  • The Chief Justice raised concerns over the absence of well-considered legislations and noted the absence of impact assessment or basic scrutiny of constitutionality before passing of legislations. This is contributing to increasing number of cases in the judiciary.

Increasing attacks on the judges

  • The CJI raised concerns over the increasing attacks on the judges and the failure of the law enforcement agencies to deal with such attacks effectively.

Media trials

  • The CJI noted the concerning development of using concerted campaigns in media against judges if parties do not get a favourable order. These media trials would affect the functioning and independence of the judiciary.

Over burdening of the judiciary

  • The increasing number of cases coming up and the limited number of judges available has resulted in the current judges having to handle a large number of cases. This could impact the quality of the judgments and functioning of the judges. The judge-to-population ratio in India stands at 21 judges per million people.

Issue with public prosecutors

  • Public prosecutors (PPs) under the government did nothing to prevent frivolous and non-deserving cases from reaching the courts and have in various cases attempted to help the accused.

Suggestions given by the CJI

  • There should be stakeholder analysis and judicial impact assessment of any new law being introduced.
  • In order to insulate the institution of public prosecutors, an independent selection committee may be constituted for their appointment.
  • There is the need to move towards domain expertise in the judiciary as this could help contribute in speeding up the judicial process and also help improve the quality of judgments.

-Source: The Hindu


India imposes anti-dumping duty on 5 Chinese goods

Context:

India has imposed anti-dumping duty on five Chinese products, including certain aluminium goods and some chemicals, for five years to guard local manufacturers from cheap imports from the neighbouring country.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (International Trade, Issues Related to Growth and Development of Indian Economy)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Dumping?
  2. What is Anti-Dumping Duty?
  3. Background regarding India’s Anti-dumping measures and China
  4. Role of the WTO in Regulating Anti-Dumping Measures
  5. Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR)

What is Dumping?

  • Dumping is a term used in the context of international trade. It’s when a country or company exports a product at a price that is lower in the foreign importing market than the price in the exporter’s domestic market.
  • Because dumping typically involves substantial export volumes of a product, it often endangers the financial viability of the product’s manufacturer or producer in the importing nation.

What is Anti-Dumping Duty?

  • Anti-dumping duty is a tariff imposed on imports manufactured in foreign countries that are priced below the fair market value of similar goods in the domestic market.
  • The government imposes anti-dumping duty on foreign imports when it believes that the goods are being “dumped” – through the low pricing – in the domestic market.
  • Anti-dumping duty is imposed to protect local businesses and markets from unfair competition by foreign imports.

Background regarding India’s Anti-dumping measures and China

  • World Trade Organization (WTO) members are allowed to apply anti-dumping measures on any company if it exports a product at a lower price than its home market, and if the product threatens to impact the local industry.
  • China joined the WTO after years of negotiations on the condition that it will be treated as a non-market economy by other member countries for anti-dumping proceedings.
  • While the 15-year period ended the European Union and the US have held back from granting market economy status to China, citing wide-ranging price control on export commodities by China.
  • India initiated 18 anti-dumping proceedings in 2019, most of them against China, however, China remains one of India’s largest trading partners and a major source for intermediate products for its industry.

What is a non-market economy?

A non-market economy refers to a country which has a complete or substantially complete monopoly of its trade and where all domestic prices are fixed by the state.

Role of the WTO in Regulating Anti-Dumping Measures

  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) plays a critical role in the regulation of anti-dumping measures. As an international organization, the WTO does not regulate firms accused of engaging in dumping activities, but it possesses the power to regulate how governments react to dumping activities in their territories.
  • Some government sometimes react harshly to foreign companies engaging in dumping activities by introducing punitive anti-dumping duties on foreign imports, and the WTO may come in to determine if the actions are genuine, or if they go against the WTO free-market principle.
  • According to the WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement, dumping is legal unless it threatens to cause material injury in the importing country domestic market. Also, the organization prohibits dumping when the action causes material retardation in the domestic market.
  • Where dumping occurs, the WTO allows the government of the affected country to take legal action against the dumping country as long as there is evidence of genuine material injury to industries in the domestic market. The government must show that dumping took place, the extent of the dumping in terms of costs, and the injury or threat to cause injury to the domestic market.

Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR)

Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) is an apex national authority responsible for administering all the trade remedial measures which include:

  1. Anti-Dumping Duties
  2. Countervailing Duties and
  3. Other Safeguard Measures.

Established in 1998 as the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties, it was renamed in 2018 as the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR).

  • The Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), Directorate General of Safeguards (DGS) and Safeguards (QR) functions of DGFT were merged into one single entity, DGTR, making it an integrated single umbrella National Authority.
  • DGTR works alongside the Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • The Department of Revenue considers the recommendations of DGTR for imposing Anti-Dumping, Countervailing and Safeguard Duties.
  • Trade defence support would be provided by the DGTR to our domestic industries and the exporters in dealing with the trade remedy investigations instituted by other countries against them.

-Source: The Hindu


Study of distant magnetar reveals facets of the exotic star

Context:

An international group of researchers has succeeded in measuring for the first time the characteristics of a flare on a distant magnetar.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Magnetars

About Magnetars

  • A magnetar is an exotic type of neutron star, its defining feature that it has an ultra-powerful magnetic field. The field is about 1,000 times stronger than a normal neutron star and about a trillion times stronger than the Earth’s.
  • Magnetars are, by far, the most magnetic stars in the universe and apart from these ultra-powerful magnetic fields, magnetars also release vast amounts of energy in the form of flares, X-rays, and gamma-ray bursts.
  • They are formed by the collapse of a star with a mass 10–25 times that of the Sun.
  • Most magnetars rotate once every two to ten seconds, whereas typical neutron stars rotate one to ten times per second.
  • The active life of a magnetar is short. Their strong magnetic fields decay after about 10,000 years, after which activity and strong X-ray emission cease.

-Source: The Hindu

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