Category: Miscellaneous

THE SPECTRE OF A POST-COVID-19 WORLD

Context:

  • In many parts of the world, borders are closed, airports, hotels and businesses shut, and school cancelled. These unprecedented measures are tearing at the social fabric of some societies and disrupting many economies, resulting in mass job losses and raising the spectre of widespread hunger.

Digital Factor:

  • The physical analog world is being decimated, with traditional analog businesses including hotels, restaurants and airplanes in crisis.
  • The digital world, however, is thriving. We are surviving through this pandemic because of technology like smartphones.
  • In the post-pandemic world, technology will be as ubiquitous as it is now, if not more, and tech companies will become even more powerful and dominant.
  • Use of surveillance –
    • It is a useful weapon to fight the virus – for instance, countries like Israel are using smartphones to figure out who’s been where in order to track clusters of the virus.
    • The technocratic authoritarian model in Beijing and East Asia, such as in Singapore and to some extent South Korea are dealing more effectively with the virus.
    • But at the same time, such moves threaten to undermine individual freedom and privacy.
    • The sophistication of such technologies may determine our socio-political rights in the future.

Social Change:

  • Changes in people:
    • COVID-19 can have lasting effects on people’s values.
    • It changes the habits of the people– they work and travel in a different way, their daily routines and the very rhythm of their lives change, including when they eat and how they communicate with their families
    • Religion – one of the biggest sources of culture for the human being will undergo changes, the epistemology of society – will never again be the same.
  • Police States:
    • COVID-19 will fast-forward the fourth industrial revolution and digitalization of all services, including public services. .
    • Digital technology makes it possible to create subtle police states as citizens might voluntarily offer private data in hope the state can provide security.
  • International cooperation:
    • On the international level, there will be less cooperation.
    • The trend of nationalism and self-reliance will continue, especially as the fear of the “external” and “foreign” can be exploited by populists.
  • Fragile healthcare and weak Economy:
    • Most states are challenged in their resilience economically, socially and in terms of public health.
    • The public health crisis compounds existing domestic economic crises amid a global economic depression following the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
    • This might overthrow those regimes whose legitimacy is undermined by inability to manage the crisis.

Prognosis for India

  • India was estimated to be among the 15 most affected economies by the COVID-19 epidemic
    • An early estimate by the Asian Development Bank, soon after the epidemic was declared, was that it would cost the Indian economy $29.9 billion.
    • A recent industry estimate pegs the cost of the lockdown at around $120 billion or 4% of India’s GDP.
    • The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had at one point warned that India would require up to six months even after the entire course of the COVID-19 epidemic is over to restore normalcy and business continuity.
  • To compensate for this loss, massive inflows of government funds would be needed.
  • India, like any other developing country, might find it difficult to find adequate resources for this purpose. Hence, it would be wise to start thinking of what next, if at least to try and handle a situation created by the most serious pandemic in Recent Centuries.

INDIAN RED CROSS SOCIETY AND COVID-19

Context:

  • Recently, President Ramnath Kovind exhorted the collective strength of the society and urged Governors, LGs and Administrators to mobilise volunteers of Indian Red Cross society, voluntary and religious organisations to contain the menace of COVID 19 at the Earliest.

COVID-19 and Indian Red Cross Society:

  • The President of India stressed the role of the Red Cross, civil society/voluntary organisations in complementing the efforts of the Union and State governments to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, especially with the lockdown and other challenges emerging from the evolving situation.
  • In general, the Indian Red Cross’s programmes are grouped into four Main Core Areas:
  • Promoting humanitarian principles and values;
  • Disaster response;
  • Disaster preparedness; and
  • Health and Care in the Community.
  • Indian Red Cross Society is currently, used to create awareness among the masses on COVID-19 and educate them about social distancing
  • In Karnataka, around 8000 Indian Red Cross volunteers are involved in the awareness creation activities.
  • Also, the Red Cross has been helping to supply food packets in Chandigarh to the people in need.
  • The health care expertise of Indian Red Cross Society is used to make efficient delivery of such services to the society.
  • Red Cross Ambulance services are used widely by the District authorities to support other measures.

Indian Red Cross Society:

  • The Indian Red Cross is a voluntary humanitarian organization providing relief in times of disasters/emergencies and promotes health & care of the vulnerable people and communities.
  • It is a leading member of the largest independent humanitarian organization in the world, the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement.
  • Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) was established in 1920 under the Indian Red Cross Society Act and incorporated under Parliament Act XV of 1920. The act was last amended in 1992 and rules were formed in 1994.
  • The President of India serves as the President and Union Health Minister serves as the Chairman of the Society.
  • The Vice Chairman is elected by the members of the Managing Body.
  • The National Managing Body consists of 18 members.
  • The Chairman and 6 members are nominated by the President. The remaining 12 are elected by the state and union territory branches through an electoral college.
  • The IRCS adopted RED CROSS as its emblem.

History of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement:

  • Jean Henry Dunant, a young Swiss businessman, was deeply influenced by the condition of the wounded soldiers he witnessed in the battlefield during the Franco – Austrian war(1859).
  • During the war, he arranged relief services with the help of the local community.
  • In his book ‘Memory of Solferino’, he suggested that a neutral organization be established to aid the wounded soldiers in times of war.
  • An international conference was convened in Geneva to consider the suggestions of Henry Dunant and thus the Red Cross Movement was established by Geneva Convention of 1864.
  • The name and the emblem of the movement are derived from the reversal of the Swiss national flag, to honor the country in which the Red Cross was found.
  • In the Russo-Turkish war the Ottoman empire used a Red Crescent in place of the Red Cross. Egypt too opted for the Red Crescent while Persia chose a Red Lion on a white background. These symbols were written and accepted into the 1929 Geneva Conventions.
  • During the General Assembly and the council of Delegates in November 2005 at Geneva, Red Crystal was adopted as another emblem for the Red Cross Red Crescent movement.

WOMEN IN WORKFORCE

Context:

  • According to a statement by the non- government organisation Azad Foundation – women workforce in the country fell to 18 per cent in 2019 from 37 per cent in 2006, The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report this year ranks India at 149th position out of 153 countries on economic participation and opportunity.

Observations by the Azad Foundation:

  • According to the Foundation, the Global Gender Gap Report estimates that raising women’s participation in the labour force can increase India’s GDP significantly.
  • The declining women’s labour force participation, gender pay gap, high rates of informal work with lack of social security are seen as impediments to the goal of gender equality and empowerment of women in India. Over the last few years more women have taken up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses and are aspiring to enter the workforce. However dropout rates among women is also high, particularly around marriage, maternity and motherhood.

Safeguards for Women:

  • The principle of gender equality has been put forward in the Indian Constitution through its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles.
  • The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women.
  • From the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-78) onwards has been a marked shift in the approach to women’s issues from welfare to development.
  • The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women.
  • The 73rdand 74th Amendments (1993) to the Constitution of India have provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of Panchayats and Municipalities for women, laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels.
  • India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights for women.
    • Key among them is the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1993.
  • The Government of India attempted to gender sensitise the Budget initially through the Women’s Component Plan (by state governments also) and then more intensively with Gender Responsive Budgeting institutionalized through the Gender Budget Statement published every year since 2005 ‐2006 with the Union Budget (in some states as well).
  • The women’s movement and a wide-spread network of non-Government Organisations which have strong grass-roots presence.
  • The Indian government is running many schemes for women’s empowerment such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Mahila E-haat Scheme, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Sakhi Yojana, Ladli Yojana, Digital Laado and the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • Maternity Benefits Act – Maternity benefits are generous for a small minority of Indian women employed in the formal sector and covered under the Maternity Benefit Act.
  • NFSA – Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, all pregnant women (except those already receiving similar benefits under other laws) are entitled to maternity benefits of ₹6,000 per child.
  • Maternity benefits scheme – a maternity benefit scheme was rolled out in 2017: the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).

Challenges in Bringing Gender Equality

  • For millions of years, except in few matriarchal societies, the man has always been considered the head of the family.
  • Even among the educated, there are deep rooted biases that prevent people from admitting that the man is no longer the provider-in-chief.
  • A study at the University of Chicago found that marriages in which the woman earned more were less likely in the first place and more likely to end in divorce.
  • It also found that women who out-earned their husbands were more likely to seek jobs beneath their potential and do significantly more housework and child care than their husbands to make their husbands feel less threatened.
  • The norms in our families act as a huge deterrent to achieving gender parity.
  • Annual Crime in India Report 2018 by NCRB
    • According to the report, 3,78,277 cases of crime against women were reported in the country, up from 3,59,849 in 2017.
    • Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 59,445 cases, followed by Maharashtra (35,497) and West Bengal (30,394).
    • The conviction rate in rape-related cases stood at 27.2% even though the rate of filing chargesheets was 85.3% in such cases.
    • Cruelty by husband or his relatives (31.9%) followed by assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (27.6%) constituted the major share of crimes against women.

Sociology behind the Gender-Divide in Workplace:

  • Research shows that when men and women apply for jobs — be in the labour market, or in places where high level qualifications are demanded, men candidates engage in self-promotion, and are boastful while equally qualified women are more ‘modest’ and ‘undersell’ themselves.
  • Even in groups and situations where men and women are present as colleagues, the views of women are either ignored or listened to less seriously than those of men.
  • As a result, women tend to underestimate their ability relative to men, especially in public settings, and negotiate less successfully.
  • Dual role played by women as a part of the workforce and as a caretaker of the family, makes it difficult for her to align in the same position as that of men.

Why Female Labour Force Participation Matters Beyond Social Cause?

  • Ignoring India’s declining female labour force participation at a time of economic distress is a mistake.
  • Women in workforce improve overall efficiency and the country’s economy
  • In India, where young women’s education is now at par with men’s, ignoring that half of the population isn’t participating equally in the economy means we are missing out on many things, like-
    • Innovation
    • Enterpreneurship
    • Productivity gains.
    • Large potential to increase in GDP
  • A report by McKinsey Global Institute suggests that if women participated in the Indian economy at the level men do, annual GDP could be increased by 60 per cent above its projected GDP by 2025.
  • The same analysis also suggested that India’s potential GDP gains through achieving

#SHEINSPIRESUS

Context:

  • Prime Minister of India on 8th March 2020 marked International Women’s Day by handing over control of his social media accounts to seven women achievers. It is claimed to be an unique initiative and it is expected to inspire many women from various echelons of the society who are contributing to its development in their own ways.

International Women’s Day 2020:

  • International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
  • The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
  • The 2020 theme for International Women’s Day (8 March) is, “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.

History:

  • The early years of the 20th century saw rapid industrialisation in many countries and the working conditions of most of the women employed in factories and on the production lines gave cause for considerable concern.
  • In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day.
  • She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands.
  • The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs – and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament – greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.
  • International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975.
  • Then in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
  • 2011 saw the 100 year centenary of International Women’s Day – with the first IWD event held exactly 100 years ago in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

The Super Seven:

  • PM Narendra Modi’s social media accounts were handled by seven women from different fields on International Women’s Day. A look at the achievements of these women:
  • Arifa Jaan:
    • Kashmir-based Arifa Jaan is passionate about reviving Namda, the traditional craft of the region
  • Sneha Mohandoss:
    • Inspired by her mother, Chennai-based Sneha Mohandoss started an  initiative called Foodbank India, aimed at eradicating hunger through food donation campaigns.
  • Kalavati Devi:
    • A mason from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, she collected funds from the public and built toilets for better hygiene in her locality.
  • Kalpana Ramesh:
    • The Hyderabad-based architect is focused on water conservation projects, especially rainwater harvesting, and spreads awareness on the responsible use of water
  • Malvika lyer:
    • An award winning disability rights activist, social worker and model
    • She lost both arms in a bomb blast at Bikaner when she was 13
  • Vjaya Pawar:
    • She promotes handicrafts from the Banjara Community of rural Maharashtra
  • Veena Devi:
    • An organic farmer from Munger, Bihar, she has been cultivating mushrooms at some since 2013, setting an example in self-Sufficiency. She gained recognition for cultivating 1 kg mushrooms under her bed
  • Namda Traditional Art:
    • Namda is a local term used for traditional felted wool floor coverings, made out of a coarse variety of wool.
    • Namda comes from the root word Namata (Sanskrit for woollen stuff).
  • Namda making is practised as a craft in several cultures, especially in the countries throughout Asia, viz. Iran, Afghanistan and India.
  • Srinagar in Kashmir and Tonk in Rajasthan are the two major namda making centres in India.
  • In India, it is known to have come from Iran and was actively promoted in the state under the patronage of the Mughal monarchs and the Rajput royals.
  • Rich hues and exquisite designing are the characteristics of the handcrafted Namda.
  • Unique themes and floral patterns provide the themes for these masterpieces and flowers and leaves, buds and fruits are the essence of the designs.

EDUCATION & ASPIRING INDIA

Context:

  • In the Union Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has suggested speedy implementation of the new education policy and several other measures. The budget earmarked Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and about Rs 3,000 crore for Skill Development.

Budget Highlights:

  • About 150 higher educational institutions would start apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021.
  • A programme would be started whereby urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period up to one year.
  • To create infrastructure in the education sector, steps would be taken to enable sourcing External Commercial Borrowings and FDI so as to be able to deliver higher quality education.
  • Institutions that are ranked within the top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking framework will start a degree level full-fledged online education programme for students of deprived section of the society.

Need for Skilling:

  • The Education – Knowledge Gap:

    1.Literacy rate in India as per Census 2011: 74%.

    2.Literacy rate: Male: 82.1%; Female: 65.5%

  • Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) reflects the deteriorating quality of knowledge from education.
  • The report opines that deficits in foundational reading and arithmetic skills are cumulative, which leaves students grossly handicapped for further education.

The Knowledge – Skill Gap:

  • By 2030, the country will have the highest working age population. Youths coming out of the higher education system in India are not employable, as they lack relevant industry-level skills.
    • The Governments are tasked with the responsibility of empowering the present day children to make them employable by 2030.
    • In this regard, the Union Budget 2020-21 has earmarked about Rs 3,000 crore for Skill Development.

The Issues in Skilling:

  • Skilling can be done with primary education as a base, however, in India these domains are seen separate from one another. No skill development program can succeed without an underlying foundation of basic education.
  • There is a growing gap between skilling and knowledge, which increases inequality.
  • Skilling requires infrastructure boost to support the increasing number of entrants.
  • Less than 5% of the workforce in the age-group of 19-24 receives vocational education in India, in contrast to 52% in the USA, 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea.

Way Forward:

  • Secondary education and skilling should go together.
  • Skilling framework should be improved
  • Higher Education Institutions must offer vocational courses that are integrated into Undergraduate Education Programs.

Issues in Teacher Education:

  • Teachers play a most critical role in a student’s development. There is a need for better incentives for teachers, investments in teacher capacity through stronger training programs and addressing the problems in the teaching-learning process. However,there is a decline in the quality and training of teachers.
    • Disproportionate Student and teacher ratio in both public and private institutions.
    • Challenges in governance and monitoring mechanisms for tracking performance of the teachers.
    • Lack of accountability systems in Government Schools.
    • Inadequate teacher training, large number of teaching vacancies and rampant absenteeism.
    • Limited options for teacher education in the school system.

Way Forward:

  • Fraudulent or dysfunctional teacher education institutions should be closed as soon as possible.
  • In-service teacher professional development programs should be redesigned with continuous progressive development such as peer-learning, demonstration classes, sabbaticals for research/advanced studies etc.
  • A national electronic teacher registry should be setup to bring together employers and job aspirants in this sector.
  • States should test teachers tri-annually on the same test designed for the children they are teaching which will ensure competency of the teacher.
  • The Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) across states should be strengthened as per central TET through standardization of results, quality benchmarking of testing-items and extending the TET for teachers at pre-school and classes at 9-12 levels.

COMPREHENSIVE LACTATION MANAGEMENT CENTRES

Why in News?

  • Breast Milk Banks in India are known as Comprehensive Lactation Management Centres (CLMC) and Lactation Management Unit (LMU) depending on the level of health facilities where these units are established.

Comprehensive Lactation Management Centres (CLMC):

  • CLMC works as per the National Guidelines on Establishment of Lactation Management Centres in Public Health Facilities.
  • The foremost endeavour of the health care providers in a health centre is to conserve the natural act of breastfeeding.
  • Lactation Management Centres are in no way intended to lessen the importance of mother’s own milk or the practice of breastfeeding.
  • If mother’s own milk is insufficient or not available for any unavoidable reason, Donor Human Milk (DHM) is the next best alternative to bridge the gap.
  • The Government has set a target of ensuring 70 per cent infants to have access to breast milk by the year 2025. Target will subsequently be increased to 100 per cent.

Significance:

  • It is universally accepted that breast milk is the optimum exclusive source of nutrition for the first six months of life, and may remain part of the healthy infant diet for the first two years of life and beyond.
  • Despite advances in infant formulas, human breast milk provides a bioactive matrix of benefits that cannot be replicated by any other source of nutrition.
  • When the mother’s own milk is unavailable for the sick, hospitalized new born, pasteurized human donor breast milk should be made available as an alternative feeding choice followed by commercial formula.
  • There is a limited supply of donor breast milk in India and it should be prioritized to sick, hospitalized neonates who are the most vulnerable and most likely to benefit from exclusive human milk feeding.

Milk Banks in India:

  • Asia’s first milk bank was established in 1989 at Sion Hospital, Mumbai.
  • In 2017, the first public milk bank, called the Vatsalya — Maatri Amrit Kosh, was established at Lady Hardinge Medical College.
  • It was established in collaboration with the Norwegian government and the Oslo University as part of the Norway–India Partnership Initiative (NIPI).

FATAL FIRES: THE NEED FOR STRICT SAFETY NORMS

  • The Discovery and use of firemay be regarded as the beginning of civilization. Anthropologist Claude Levi-Straus said that ‘primitive people became different From Animals when they started cooking their food’. Not only in cooking, fire was used by them in crafts, in industries and in clearing forests for agriculture and new settlements.
  • However, fire also kills people and destroys their possessions.
  • Recently, the National Capital witnessed one of the worst fire tragedies in almost two decades when at least 43 people were killed, and several others injured in north Delhi’s Anaj Mandi. Initial enquiries points to many glaring negligence such as locked escape routes, unavailability of fire safety equipment and buildings without the fire safety clearances from the authorities. Rescue operations were also hampered due to narrow lanes.

Fire Safety in India:

  • India’s abysmal record on fire safety is reflected in the death of 17,700 people countrywide in fires in both public and residential buildings during 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • It should be noted here that the record of rural areas, which remains largely unreported, is no better and on addition will push the figure further up from the estimated total of 20,000 deaths per annum.
  • Likewise, the property loss is estimated to be 0.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Don’t dig well when house is on fire”

  • Fire prevention and fire protection is a state subject. The primary responsibility for fire prevention and fire protection lies primarily with State Governments.
  • Fire services in India come under the Twelfth Scheduleof the Constitution of India, under the provisions of Article 243W of the Constitution. The performance of the functions listed in the Twelfth Schedule comes under the domain of Municipalities.

The National Building Code (NBC):

  • The National Building Code is published by Bureau of Indian Standards. The first edition of the NBC was published in 1970. The third edition of the NBC was published in 2016, incorporating the latest developments in the construction activities in the country.
  • The National Building Code (NBC) is the basic model code in India on matters relating to building construction and fire safety. The rules for fire prevention and fire protection are laid in the form of State Regulations or Municipal By-Laws.

Codes and Standards:

  • Bureau of Indian Standardshas formulated more than 150 standards on fire safety in buildings and firefighting equipment & systems.
  • Oil Industry Safety Directorate(OISD) is a technical directorate under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of Government of India. It formulates and coordinates the implementation of a series of self-regulatory measures aimed at enhancing the safety in the oil & gas industry in India.

Fire and laissez-faire:

  • According to the India Risks Survey, there has been a 300% increase in fire incidents of commercial buildings in 2014-15. This highlights the gap between India’s dreamy visions of smart cities and the cruel reality of urban chaos.
  • Periodically, high-profile cases such as the Uphaar cinema blaze in Delhithat killed 59 people in 1997, and the Kumbakonam school fire in Tamil Nadu in 2004 in which 94 children perished shock the nation, but the issue of fire safety is largely unattended.
  • Flouting Fire Safety Norms – Many commercial and residential buildings, have been found flouting fire safety norms. Many occupiers or societies do not bother to conduct regular maintenanceof the fire prevention systems installed in their buildings.

Why does India lag in Fire Safety?

  • Prospective Laws– Fire Safety Laws that are framed now are not applicable to the existing buildings, they cannot be implemented retrospectively. For instance, a 100-year old building is not required to obtain fire safety certificate, and the present building codes are not applicable to such buildings.
  • Commercial Use– Residential buildings that are considered as low hazard occupancies and are exempted from safety guidelines but being used for commercial purposes increases the risks associated.
  • Town Planning – Horizontal and vertical expansion of the cities, without proper planning leads to congestion, which increases the risks.
  • Fire Master Plans – Many cities are planned without Fire Protection Masterplans; this makes them vulnerable.
  • Citizen Training – Least importance is given to create a knowledged community, which can pro-actively take part in prevention of such incidents. They should at least be trained to operate fire extinguishers and other basic escape precautions.
  • Monitoring– Fire safety audits are not conducted properly, due to the unavailability of trained personnel.
  • Laxity in following fire safety measures –It was observed that most skyscrapers in Mumbai continue to overlook the fire safety norms compliance certificate. Several prominent high rises in New Delhi are at a high risk of turning into fire traps.

Way Forward:

  • Hazard Identification & Risk Assessment (HIRA)can be focused to identify potential hazards.
  • A comprehensive fire safety audit can address the inherent fire hazards and recommend measures to reduce the potential fire hazards.
  • The fire safety auditwork shall be entrusted to Third Party Agencies, who have expertise in it.
  • Training the personnel and creating a well-informed citizenry.
  • The State Governmentsshould shed more towards modernization of the fire fighting force.
  • Mandating compulsory insurance for all public buildingsagainst fire risk and public liability can bring about a change to the way architects and builders approach the question of safety, since the insurer would require a reduction of risk and compliance with building plans.
  • In India, although there are many rules and regulations, codes and standards related to fire safety, these are seldom followed. By 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. India and all countries around the world must see the importance of fire safety when building and extending cities. If not, we will be walking unprepared into a deadly inferno.

STOP THE BRUTALITY: THE RAPE CULTURE IN INDIA

  • The recent issue of rape in Hyderabad has triggered an intense debate on sexual violence, and the punishment that should be meted out to perpetrators. Rape is a stigma which exists in the society from a long time. The word rape is legally defined under Section-375[1] of Indian Penal Code, 1860. It defines the rape and also prescribes its punishment
  • “While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a Helpless Female.”

No Stranger to Crime:

  • According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) (2017) report, around 93% Rapes in India Committed by Persons Known to the Victim. Large number of rape cases were filed against “family friends”, employers, neighbours or other known persons.
  • In most cases, the victims are specifically not allowed to speak to the investigating team and police officers under the pressure of their families who are stuck between getting justice and what the society says for a girl being raped.

Gender Stereotyping in the Society:

  • Socio-culturally transmitted attitudes toward women, rape, and rapists are often internalized from the male dominated viewpoint. The Patriarchal Mindset showcases women as weaker sex, which leads to sexual violence against women.
  • This brings out the Misogynist Attitude prevalent in the Indian culture.

Disclosure of Identity and Victim Blaming:

  • Despite clear legal prohibitions, victim’s names are used in media and social media, causing real damage to the mental state of the victims. This may intensify the aftershocks on victims including depression, fear, guilt-complex, suicidal-action, diminished sexual interest etc,.
  • According to the Section228-A of IPC, no person can disclose the name of the rape victim and if anybody discloses the name, he shall be punished with either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable for fine.
  • Despite these provisions and the punishments clearly specified, nothing much has changed. Poor journalism and the irresponsible social media have breached both ethical and legal norms, after every such incident.
  • Even the dead have their own dignity” – The Supreme Court, in a judgement, held the name and identity of a victim who was either dead or of unsound mind should also not be disclosed even under the authorisation of the next of the kin.
  • Victim Blaming in India- In the Indian society, the victim of a sexual offence, especially a victim of rape, is treated worse than the perpetrators of the crime.
  • Identification of the survivors, either through names or other characteristics that point out to them have become reasons of ill-treatment and sometimes even abandonment of the survivors by their family.

Justice Verma Committee Report:

  • Justice Verma Committee was constituted to recommend amendments to the Criminal Law. The committee was set up after the Nirbhaya incident of December 2012.
  • Rape: The Committee recommended that the gradation of sexual offences should be retained in the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The IPC differentiates between rape within Marriage and Outside Marriage.  Under the IPC sexual intercourse without consent is prohibited.
  • Verbal Sexual Assault: The Committee has suggested that use of words, acts or gestures that create an unwelcome threat of a sexual nature should be termed as sexual assault.
  • To ensure Speedy Disposal of Complaints, the Committee proposed a tribunal must be set up and it should not function as a civil court but may choose its own procedure to deal with each complaint.

Way Forward:

  • The government should create a separate cell under the Union Home Ministry to address the sexual crimes against the women.
  • Schools should take forward the cause of sex education and also the sexual education.
  • Reforms in police department to gender sensitize them, in treating the cases involving sexual violence.
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, to ensure timely justice.
  • Make a directory of sex offenders in the lines of the western countries where such directories are used to trace paedophiles.
  • Media, both visual and print media should be penalised, if they disclose name and photo of the victims.
  • Conducting a Census of missing children in India, particularly girl children, might give the data of children who might have been trafficked.
  • As women go about getting an education, doing work or simply doing daily chores, the inability of state and society to provide them – either safe passage or safe public spaces, effectively reduces their rights to that of second-class citizens.

A SYSTEMATIC WAY OF MAXIMISING RETURNS ON INVESTMENT


About:

  • A Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is a way to invest in mutual funds wherein a fixed sum of money is put into a mutual fund scheme at a specified date every month.
  • It is considered to be investor-friendly and an efficient manner of investing in the capital markets. From this, one can start investing with small monthly contributions instead of building a huge investment corpus.

Benefits:

  • SIPs capture every rise and fall of the market and hence, an investor need not worry about the level of the market. there are sector-specific funds such as pharma, banks, technology, and also those based on the size of the companies such as large-cap, mid-cap, small-cap
  • funds that allow the investor to have a diversified portfolio rather than concentrate risk in a few companies
  • It is considered to be investor-friendly and an efficient manner of investing in the capital markets.

66% EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR DIFFERENT SKILLS THAN THREE YEARS AGO

  • Fast-changing job requirements are leading to a yawning skills gap in many parts of the world, with India being one of the hardest-hit – International Labour Organisation in collaboration with the International Organisation of Employers.

Present Scenario:

  • 66% of Indian businesses say they are looking for quite different skills in new recruits than they were three years ago, with 53% saying it is becoming harder to recruit people with the needed skills.
  • Globally, 60% of employers say new graduates are not adequately prepared for current work.

Bridging the Gap

  • Schemes for skill development
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana
  • Financial Assistance for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme
  • Craftsmen Training Scheme Apprenticeship training Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra Skill development for minorities
  • Green Skill Development Programme
  • Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills

IRDAI MOOTS PUBLIC DISCLOSURE NORM

  • A public disclosure norm requiring all general insurers, health insurers, specialised insurers and reinsurers, including branches of foreign reinsurers, to share information at specified intervals about their financials and performance, is on the cards.
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) issued an exposure draft detailing the proposed norms, and proposed the implementation from 2019-20.

The Check and Balance:

  • The norms require the insurers to share information about revenue, profit and loss account and balance sheet, as well as provide segmental reporting and schedules to accounts.
  • Stating that one of the objectives of the norms was to ensure safety of policyholders, IRDAI said the International Association of Insurance Supervisors had recognised that the insurers had an equal, if not, greater responsibility towards the policyholders than their duty towards investors.

History of Insurance

  • The technique of pooling of resources to be re-distributed in times of calamities and emergencies like fire, floods, famine and epidemics is not new in India.
  • This    concept    of   insurance    finds   mention   in    the   writings  of   Manu’s  Manusmiriti, Yagnavalkya’s Dharmasastra and Kautilya’s Arthasastra.
  • Insurance records in the form of Marine trade loans and carrier’s contracts exist datingancient times.
  • Over time, the concept of Insurance evolved in India drawing heavily from other countries, particularly England.

IRDA:

  • IRDA is an apex statutory body that regulates and develops insurance industry in India. It was constituted as per provisions of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. Its headquarter is in Hyderabad.

Functions of IRDA:

  • Protect the rights of insurance policy holders.
  • Provide registration certification to life insurance companies
  • Renew, modify, cancel or suspend this registration certificate as and when appropriate; promote efficiency in conduct of insurance business
  • Promote and regulate professional organisations connected with insurance and reinsurance business; regulate investment of funds by insurance companies
  • Adjudication of disputes between insurers and intermediaries or insurance intermediaries.

Lesser clicks, a boon for bricks

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion’s recent clarification on the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy for e-retail has an unexpected beneficiary — brick and mortar (B&M) retail.

The more specific and stringent FDI guidelines require large e-retailers to make changes in their business models in a short timeframe.

Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP)

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) was formed in 1995 under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. In 2000, the Industrial Development department was merged with it. The DIPP is responsible for formulating and implementing growth measures for the industrial sector in line with socio-economic objectives and national priorities. DIPP is basically mandated with the overall industrial policy formulation and execution, whereas the individual ministries take care of the specific industries’ production, distribution, development and planning aspects.

In 2000, the department was reconstituted with the merger of the Industrial Development department.

DIPP Functions

  • Formulation and implementation of industrial policy and strategies for industrial development in conformity with the development needs and national objectives;
  • Monitoring the industrial growth, in general, and performance of industries specifically assigned to it, in particular, including advice on all industrial and technical matters;
  • Formulation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy and promotion, approval and facilitation of FDI;
  • Encouragement to foreign technology collaborations at enterprise level and formulating policy parameters for the same;
  • Formulation of policies relating to Intellectual Property Rights in the fields of Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications of Goods and administration of regulations, rules made there under;
  • Administration of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951
  • Promoting industrial development of industrially backward areas and the North Eastern Region including International Co-operation for industrial partnerships and
  • Promotion of productivity, quality and technical cooperation.

Foreign Direct Investment:

FDI or Foreign Direct Investment is basically a controlling stake (ownership) in a commercial enterprise located in a country by an entity based out of another country.

This is different from portfolio foreign investment with respect to the element of ‘control’. The latter kind of investment is only an unassertive investment in the securities of a foreign nation like bonds and stocks.

FDI includes mergers and acquisitions, construction of new facilities, intra-company loans and reinvesting profits from foreign operations.

There are two routes by which India gets FDI

  • Automatic route:By this route FDI is allowed without prior approval by Government or Reserve Bank of India.
  • Government route:Prior approval by government is needed via this route.

The application needs to be made through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal, which will facilitate single window clearance of FDI application under Approval Route.

Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) which was the responsible agency to oversee this route was abolished on May 24, 2017, the work relating to processing of applications for FDI and approval of the Government thereon under the extant FDI Policy and FEMA, shall now be handled by the concerned Ministries/Departments in consultation with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion(DIPP), Ministry of Commerce, which will also issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for processing of applications and decision of the Government under the extant FDI policy

Neolithic diet helped develop ‘f’ sound

Changes to the human diet prompted by Neolithic advances in agriculture played a role in human jaw evolution that allowed people to pronounce the consonants ‘f’ and ‘v’. The study indicates that language is not merely a random product of history but was also linked to biological changes at the time.

The Neolithic era — from 6,000 B.C. to 2,100 B.C was when wheat and barley-based farming took root and animals such as goats, sheep and cows were domesticated. Language is not usually studied as a biological phenomenon and it does not normally figure

However, this is a bit strange actually, because like the communication system of other animals, language is simply part of our nature. Man, before the Neolithic era, used his teeth quickly to chew the products of his hunting and gathering.

While the upper incisors covered the lower ones in children, wear and tear led to an edge- to-edge bite in adults, prehistoric skulls show — positioning that made it difficult to make certain sounds.

If one were to put the upper and lower incisors or “front teeth” directly on top of each other and try to say “f” or “v”, one would find it very difficult, the researchers said. The sounds are called labiodental consonants, which require the combined action of the lower lip and the upper teeth.

Starting in the Neolithic era, hunter-gatherers learned techniques to process food. Dental wear-and-tear was curtailed thanks to the softer diet, and the upper incisors maintained their adolescent position: over the lower teeth, as in today’s humans.

The findings suggest that language is shaped not only by the contingencies of its history, but also by culturally induced changes in human biology.

India is world’s 2nd largest arms importer

According to the latest report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India was the world’s second largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as largest importer to Saudi Arabia, which accounted for 12% of the total imports during the period.

However, Indian imports decreased by 24% between 2009-13 and 2014-18, partly due to delays in deliveries of arms produced under licence from foreign suppliers, such as combat aircraft ordered from Russia in 2001 and submarines ordered from France in 2008.

Country wise Split-up

Russia accounted for 58% of Indian arms imports in 2014–18, compared with 76% in 2009-13 which includes

  • S-400 air defence systems,
  • Four stealth frigates,
  • AK-203 assault rifles,
  • Second nuclear attack submarine on lease, and
  • Deals for Kamov-226T utility helicopters, Mi-17 helicopters and short-range air defence systems.

Israel, the U.S. and France all increased their arms exports to India in 2014-18.

The report noted that despite the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan, arms imports decreased for both countries in 2014-18 compared with 2009-13.

Pakistan at 11th

Pakistan stood at the 11th position accounting for 2.7% of all global imports. Its biggest source was China, from which 70% of arms were sourced, followed by the U.S. at 8.9% and, interestingly, Russia at 6%.

Globally, the volume of international transfers of major arms in 2014-18 was 7.8% higher than in 2009-13 and 23% higher than in 2004-2008. The five largest exporters in 2014-18 were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China together accounting for 75% of the total volume of arms exports in 2014-18. The flow of arms increased to the Middle East between 2009-13 and 2014-18, while there was a decrease in flows to all other regions.

China, which has emerged as a major arms exporter, has increased its share by 2.7% for 2014-18 compared to 2009-13. Its biggest customers are Pakistan and Bangladesh.

As Indian imports reduced, the impact was on Russian exports of major arms, which decreased by 17% between 2009-13 and 2014-18. The report said this was partly due to general reductions in Indian and Venezuelan arms imports, which have been among the main recipients of Russian arms exports in previous years.

About Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international institute based in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.
  • SIPRI was ranked among the top three non-US world-wide think tanks in 2014 by the University of Pennsylvania Lauder Institute’s Global Go To Think Tanks Report.
  • In 2018 it ranked SIPRI in the top twenty eight among think tanks globally

RURAL INDIA PUSHES UP UNEMPLOYMENT IN FEBUARY

In News:

CMIE report on unemployment.

Explained:

  • Estimated unemployment rate shot up to a 29-month high of 7.23 per cent in February 2019 and the numbers of those employed fell by 56.6 lakh over the last 12-months led by job losses in rural areas and especially in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar. Data shows that while the total number of employed dropped from 40.59 crore in February 2018 to 40.01 crore in February 2019, that in rural India dropped from 27.53 crore to 27.07 crore in the same period.
  • A look into the rural employment figures of states show that the number of those employed in rural UP alone declined from 4.4 crore to 4.19 crore accounting for a decline of 25 lakh jobs during the period.
  • While the rural Karnataka and Bihar saw the number of employed drop by 15 lakh each, Gujarat witnessed a reversal as the number of those employed rose from 1.14 crore in Feb 2018 to 1.33 crore in Feb 2019, thereby witnessing an addition of almost 19 lakh.
  • CMIE has, however, revised its initial estimates for December 2018 (released in January 2019), that showed the unemployment rate at 7.38 per cent. The revised CMIE figures show that it was at 7.02 per cent for December 2018. It has now risen to 7.23 per cent in February 2019, the data shows. The unemployment rate of 7.23 is the highest since September 2016 when it stood at a high of 8.46 per cent.
  • The estimates provided by CMIE database on “Unemployment Rate in India” is based on the panel size of over 1,58,000 households. The CMIE data, however, also shows that alongside the rise in unemployment, there has been a dip in the labour participation rate.
  • A breakup of the rural and urban job numbers shows that a large part of the drop-in employment over the last 12-months is on account of job losses in rural areas. Out of the 56 lakh job losses, almost 82 per cent or 46 lakhs were from the rural areas.
  • The rural employment numbers fell from 27.53 crore in February 2018 to 27.07 crore last month. The rural unemployment rate over the last 12-months has shot up from 5.53 per cent to 6.98 per cent.
  • In line with a dip in the employment rate, the CMIE data shows that there has been a dip in the estimated labour participation rate (LPR) — proportion of working-age people (which is people of 15 years or more) who are willing to work and are either actually working or are actively looking for work.
  • The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force that is unemployed. While the LPR stood at 43.77 per cent in February 2018, it declined to 42.74 per cent last month. In January, however, the unemployment rate and labour participation stood at 7.05 per cent and 43.18 per cent.

CMIE:

CMIE, or Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, is a leading business information company. It was established in 1976, primarily as an independent think tank.

Earth Museum

Prelims: Indian culture

  • The government is planning to house them in one place an ‘Earth Museum’ for better conserving the prehistoric heritage,

About:

  • From dinosaur fossils to pre-human skulls, India is home to a vast treasury of geological and palaeontological specimens that contain a wealth of scientific information about the planet and its history
  • But these rare specimens are scattered in different labs all over the country.
  • This museum will be modelled on the American Museum of Natural History, or the Smithsonian museum in the U.S. The museum, which will be set up as a public-private partnership, would be located somewhere in Delhi, Noida or Gurugram.
  • Such a repository was necessary to make people aware of India’s palaeontological and geological wealth. “There is a lot of history in India, but somehow it hasn’t been communicated well.
  • Another concern was that several collections of fossils and important geological specimens weren’t properly organised, and they survived only due to the efforts of individual researchers who maintained them within their labs.
  • A single site, accessible to the public as well as researchers wanting to investigate rare and important finds, was necessary.
  • The PSA led a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) last November, where the need for such a museum was endorsed.
  • A meeting of experts from the U.S., the U.K, and South Korea is scheduled to be held in Delhi in on this.

GSP Withdrawal

Context:

  • The US has announced that it intends to “terminate” India’s designation as a beneficiary of its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

What is GSP programme:

  • The GSP, the largest and oldest US trade preference programme, allows duty-free entry for over 3,000 products from designated beneficiary countries. It was instituted on January 1, 1976, and authorised under the US Trade Act of 1974.
  • India has been the biggest beneficiary of the GSP regime and accounted for over a quarter of the goods that got duty-free access into the US in 2017.
  • Exports to the US from India under GSP — at $5.58 billion — were over 12% of India’s total goods exports of $45.2 billion to the US that year. The US goods trade deficit with India was $22.9 billion in 2017.

Indian Exports under GSP:

Possible Impact:

  • India’s Department of Commerce feels the impact is “minimal”, given that Indian exporters were only receiving duty-free benefits of $190 million on the country’s overall GSP-related trade of $5.6 billion.
  • Some experts feel the move will not have a major impact on India also because it has been diversifying its market in the Latin American and the African region and its trade with countries of the Global South has also been expanding at a “very competitive pace”.
  • At the same time, the move could hit Indian exporters if it gives an edge to competitors in its top export categories to the US. The amount of price advantage India has versus competitor countries and what happens to their GSP privileges will determine the extent to which India’s exports will be impacted

Cumulative Spending On Csr Crosses RS. 50,000 Croress

In News:

  • According to Crisil Foundation, Cumulative spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) has crossed the Rs. 50,000-Crores-mark four years after the legislative mandate was implemented.

Explained:

  • A Crisil estimate shows spending by listed companies rose 12% year-on-year in fiscal 2018 to Rs. 10,000 Crores, for the first time. Assuming the same rate of growth, spending by unlisted companies is estimated to be Rs. 5,100 Crores for the year, taking the total for the year to Rs. 15,100 Crores.
  • With this, cumulative spending over the four years stands at Rs. 34,100 Crores for listed companies and Rs. 18,900 Crores for unlisted ones, totalling Rs. 53,000 Crores.
  • While education and skill development and healthcare and sanitation remained the top spending heads, two areas grew at a fast clip — spending on national heritage protection has tripled and that on sports promotion has more than doubled since FY 2015.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (also known as CSR, corporate conscience, and corporate citizenship) is the integration of socially beneficial programs and practices into a corporation’s business model and culture.
  • CSR aims to increase long-term profits for online and offline businesses by enabling them to become more efficient and attract positive attention for their efforts.
  • India is the first country in the world to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory, following an amendment to The Company Act, 2013 in April 2014.
  • The amendment notified in the Schedule VII of the Companies Act advocates that those companies with a net worth of US$73 million (Rs 4.96 billion) or more, or an annual turnover of US$146 million (Rs 9.92 billion) or more, or a net profit of US$732,654 (Rs 50 million) or more during a financial year, shall earmark 2 percent of average net profits of three years towards CSR.

BIO-ATF

  • The Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum has successfully finished a pilot test to convert used cooking oil into bio-aviation turbine fuel (Bio-ATF), which can be blended with conventional ATF and used as aircraft fuel.

About:

  • The Institute collected used cooking oil from caterers and hotels in Dehradun for the pilot, which has now set the platform for commercial use of the technology.
  • The chemical composition of the used cooking oil is identical to other plant-based oils that have been converted to Bio-ATF.
  • The Bio-ATF derived from used cooking oil is yet to be tested on a flight. The pilot test has proven that it is very similar to Bio-ATF derived from jatropha oil. A large quantity of Bio-ATF is needed for testing on an actual flight. So far it haven’t built a stock of used cooking oil large enough to produce the quantity of Bio-ATF required. But in the next month.
  • The test assumes importance as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative to collect and convert used cooking oil into bio-fuel. As many as 64 companies in 101 locations across the country have been identified for the purpose by FSSAI.
  • The food safety body says that by 2020, it should be possible to recover about 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for conversion into bio-fuel.
  • The CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum is looking for partners to commercialise the technology.

Significance:

  • Biojet reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60 percent compared with standard fossil jet fuel, one of the key reasons it has been accredited as part of BP’s Advancing Low Carbon programme which aims to recognise and encourage low carbon action across the company.
  • Aviation is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Today, aviation accounts for about two per cent of global emissions. That is not a huge percentage, but aviation is one of the only sectors of the economy whose emissions look set to grow. It will become three per cent by around 2050 if no action is taken.
  • The International Air Transport Association has set a target of cutting aviation’s net carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, relative to 2005 levels. As part of this, a scheme called CORSIA aims to cut emissions from international flights, by forcing operators to pay to offset their emissions. However, this is only a partial solution.
  • Until recently, waste oil from restaurants was typically poured into landfill, where it decays and produces methane – another greenhouse gas. That can have “a really negative impact on the environment
  • First, tankers collect used cooking oil from restaurants. Then the oil is processed into fuel. It’s aggregated, it’s cleaned up a bit, and then it goes into a specialist bio-refinery. There it undergoes a chemical reaction with hydrogen. That removes the oxygen that’s there in the cooking oil and cleans it up even further and gives it the right properties, such that it’s indistinguishable from fossil jet fuel.
  • The benefit of this is that the new fuel can be carried in the existing pipes and tankers, and pumped straight into planes. You don’t need to modify the planes.
  • It’s not yet possible for an aeroplane to fly solely on aviation biofuel. Instead, it has to be blended with conventional fuel.

Bharat – 22 ETF Additional Sale

In News:

  • The government will launch an additional offering of Bharat-22 Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on February 14 to raise at least Rs 3,500 crore.

Explained:

  • The proceeds from the ETF sale would help the government move towards meeting the Rs 80,000 crore disinvestment target set for the current fiscal.
  • So far, the government has mopped up approximately Rs 36,000 crore by paring minority stake in public sector companies, and through ETFs.
  • Conventionally, the follow-on fund offer (FFO) of an ETF remains open for four days in which the first day of the sale is reserved for anchor investors. The next three days are kept open for subscription from retail and other institutional investors.
  • Since this is an additional on-tap offering of Bharat-22 ETF, the issue would open for a single day for both institutional and retail buyers.
  • The government has so far raised Rs 22,900 crore through the Bharat-22 ETF. While Rs 14,500 crore was raised in November 2017, another Rs 8,400 crore was raised in June 2018.
  • The central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) that are part of the ETF include ONGC, IOC, SBI, BPCL, Coal India and Nalco.
  • Other constituents include Bharat Electronics, Engineers India, NBCC, NTPC, NHPC, SJVNL, GAIL, PGCIL and NLC India. Only three public sector banks — SBI, Indian Bank and Bank of Baroda — figure in the Bharat-22 index.
  • This would be the second ETF offering by the government in the current fiscal which ends in March. In November last year, the government had raised Rs 17,300 crore through a follow-on offer of another exchange traded fund — CPSE ETF, which comprises shares of 11 public sector enterprises. This was the biggest-ever fund raising from an ETF domestically.

Third Round of OALP

In News:

  • Indian government offered 23 oil and gas and CBM blocks for bidding in the third round of Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OLAP), expecting up to $700 million of investment that it hoped will help raise domestic output and cut imports.

Explained:

  • OALP-III bid round was launched at the Petrotech 2019 conference
  • In OALP-III, 23 blocks in 12 sedimentary basins are being offered. Of these, five are coal-bed methane (CBM) blocks. Total area on offer is about 31,000 square kilometers.
  • OALP-III will run concurrently with OALP-II, where 14 blocks, covering an area of close to 30,000 sq km, is on offer for bidding, OALP-I, 55 blocks, covering an area of 60,000 sq km, were offered in January 2018 and awarded in October last year.
  • The third round is expected to “generate immediate exploration work commitment of around $600-$700 million.

OALP:

  • Under this policy, called open acreage licensing policy or OALP, oil companies are allowed to put in an expression of interest (EoI) for prospecting of oil and gas in any area that is presently not under any production or exploration licence. The EoIs can be put in at any time of the year but they are accumulated twice annually.
  • Blocks are awarded to the company which offers the highest share of oil and gas to the government as well as commits to do maximum exploration work by way of shooting 2D and 3D seismic survey and drilling exploration wells.
  • Increased exploration will lead to more oil and gas production, helping the world’s third largest oil importer to cut import dependence. Prime Minister has set a target of cutting oil import bill by 10 per cent to 67 per cent by 2022 and to half by 2030.
  • India currently imports 81 per cent of its oil needs. The new policy replaced the old system of government carving out areas and bidding them out.
  • It guarantees marketing and pricing freedom and moves away from production sharing model of previous rounds to a revenue-sharing model, where companies offering the maximum share of oil and gas to the government are awarded the block.

Categories

Current Affairs Calendar

M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

Quick Navigate

Social Connect