The Labour Minister, Santosh Gangwar, will launch the software applications for five all India surveys on February 18, 2021.
The survey will also include the data of migrant and domestic workers.
The Labour Minister will also release the instruction manuals with questionnaire for all the five All India Surveys.
The survey will be conducted by the Labour Bureau.
These All India five surveys include:
on Migrant workers.
on Domestic Workers.
on Employment Generated by Professionals.
on Employment Generated in Transport Sector and
Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey.
All-India Survey on Domestic Workers
The All-India Survey on Domestic Workers will be carried with the objective of estimating the proportion of Domestic Workers in the workforce coming from across India.
The survey will calculate the percentage distribution of these domestic workers and households that employ them.
All-India Survey on the migrant workers
Survey on the migrant workers will be carried with the aim of finding the estimated number of migrant workers in India.
It will also collect the information on their living & working conditions and the socio-economic conditions.
All-India survey on employment generated by professionals
This survey has essentially two-fold objectives:
To estimate the total number of active professionals in the country and
To capture the employment generated by these professionals.
All-India survey on employment generated in Transport Sector
It will assess the employment generated in Transport Sector of India.
All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey
This survey will measure the relative change in employment situation in the successive quarters for a sizeable group of non-farm economy. It will cover all the eight important sectors of Indian economy.
The Union Cabinet has approved the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Act, 2015 on February 17, 2021.
The amendment proposes that, the DMs, ADMs will monitor the functioning of agencies which are implementing this act in each district.
After this amendment, the Child Protection Unit of districts will function under the District Magistrate (DMs).
Now, the DMs can independently evaluate Child Welfare Committee, and the Specialised Juvenile Police Unit.
He can check the capacity and background of the Child Care Institute, following which they will be recommended for registration.
The amendments authorise the District Magistrate along with Additional District Magistrate to issue the adoption orders in accordance with Section 61 of the Juvenile justice act.
It will now ensure the speedy disposal of cases and also enhance the accountability.
The amendments also empower the District Magistrates to ensure its smooth implementation and garner the synergized efforts to support the children in distress conditions.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
The act was passed by Parliament of India by replacing the Indian juvenile delinquency law called the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. This act allows the juveniles, aged 16 to 18 who are in conflict with Law and are involved in Heinous Offences, to be tried as adults. It also seeks to create a universally accessible adoption law in India. The Act came into force in 2016. In order to smoothen the procedures for orphan, abandoned and surrendered children the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) was given the status of statutory body.
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
It is an autonomous and statutory body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. It was established in 1990. CARA is the nodal body of the adoption of Indian children. It also monitors and regulate the in-country and inter-country adoptions.
The government of India has approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) norms for the telecom sector on February 17, 2021.
The approval of the PLI scheme was given for telecom and network equipment manufacturing in a bid to boost the local manufacturing of the components.
PLI scheme on telecom sector will be effective from April 1, 2021.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) now be given the final approval from the Union cabinet.
Now, the DoT will invite the companies for applications.
Prasad also said 20,000 jobs are already given by one mobile manufacturer, 1 lakh direct and 3 lakh indirect jobs will be created by a mobile manufacturer next year.
Under the PLI scheme, Telecom manufacturing will be boosted for over 5 years in order to enhance the production of more than Rs 2.4 lakh crore.
Objectives of the Decision
The Cabinet decision to approve the PLI scheme for telecom sector aims to make India a global hub of manufacturing telecom equipment.
The government also aim to make India a hub of 4G/5G Next Generation Radio Access Network, core transmission equipment, and Wireless Equipment as well.
This move will also boost the local manufacturing of telecom gear in the domestic market as well as for exports.
The scheme will cater to the core transmission equipment, 4G/5G and next-generation radio access network & wireless equipment, Internet of Things (IoT) access devices, access and customer premise equipment (CPE) and enterprise equipment like switches and router.
It will also pull the Intellectual Property (IP) and design-led manufacturing in order to make the Indian industry globally competitive.
The policy also seeks to boost the research and development pool and talent across India.
Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme
This scheme was launched in the March 2020 in a bid to boost the domestic manufacturing. It also seeks to cut down on import bills. The scheme was launched with the aim of giving the companies incentives on incremental sales of the domestically manufactured products. This scheme does not stop any foreign companies to set shop in India. But, it also encourage the local companies to set up or expand the existing manufacturing units.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences has asked for suggestions on the Draft Blue Economy Policy for India. The stakeholders such as NGOs, industry, academia and citizens have been asked to submit their inputs and ideas by 27th February 2021.
The Draft Blue Economy Policy was created by the government outlining the vision and strategy that can be adopted to utilize the oceanic resources that are available with the country.
The policy was drafted with the aim of enhancing the contribution of the blue economy to India’s GDP.
It also seeks to improve the lives of coastal communities and preserve the marine biodiversity.
It will also maintain the national security of the marine areas and resources.
The draft blue economy document has recognised the seven thematic areas such as:
National accounting framework of the blue economy and ocean governance;
Coastal marine spatial planning and tourism;
Marine fisheries, fish processing, and Aquaculture
Manufacturing, services, trade, technology, and skill development;
Logistics, infrastructure and shipping
Coastal & deep-sea mining and
Offshore energy & security, strategic dimensions and international engagements.
Thus, the blue economy of India is a subset of national economy that caters to the entire ocean resources system.
The policy also caters to the human-made economic infrastructure in marine, maritime, and onshore coastal zones in India’s jurisdiction.
The policy is also linked with the production of goods and services which is ultimately linked with the economic growth, environmental sustainability, and national security.
The draft policy also suggests to offer the Blue Economy related educational programs comprising of various technical and managerial skills in universities and technical institutes along the coastal states of India.
What is Blue Economy?
The concept of the blue economy aspires to promote the economic growth and social inclusion. It is also involved in the preservation or improvement of livelihoods. It also seeks to ensure the environmental sustainability in the oceans and coastal areas. It comprises of the sectors for which the returns are linked to living renewable resources in the oceans like fisheries. It also comprises the sectors whose return comes from non-living & non-renewable resources including the seabed mining, dredging and offshore oil & gas extractions.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched a Pilot Pey Jal Survekshan. This was launched under the Jal Jeevan Mission- Urban (JJM-U).
This sarvekshan will be conducted in cities to ensure the equitable distribution of water and reusing the wastewater.
The sarvekshan will also help in mapping the water bodies.
The mapping of the water body will be done with respect to quantity and quality of water with the help of the challenge process.
The sarvekshan will be launched across 10 cities including Badlapur, Agra, Churu, Bhubaneswar, Madurai, Kochi, Patiala, Surat, Rohtak, and Tumkur.
Jal Jeevan Mission- Urban
The Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban)was announced in the Union Budget 2021-22.
The mission was announced under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
It seeks to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households with functional taps.
The universal coverage will be done in all the statutory towns. The mission has been launched in accordance withSustainable Development Goal- 6.
Budget 2021-22 has proposed an outlay of 2 lakh 87 thousand crore rupees for the mission. It includes 10 thousand crore rupees to continue the financial support for AMRUT Mission.
The mission also complements the Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural) that was launched to ensure the supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every household in rural areas. It will provide Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) in the rural areas by 2024.
This mission was launched in June 2015 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The mission seeks to ensure that every household has access primarily to tap water followed by a sewerage connection. It also seeks to increase amenity value of cities by creating green spaces and well-maintained open spaces. The mission was launched to reduce pollution by switching to public transport. It also seeks to construct facilities for non-motorized transport such as walking and cycling.
Iran and Russia recently held “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021″, a two-day naval exercise. The exercise is being held in the northern part of the Indian Ocean. Iran claimed that India had joined the security bely. However, Indian Navy clarified that it did not participate in the exercise.
The drill was participated by the forces and vessels from navy divisions of both the Iranian army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Several vessels from the Russian navy also participated in the drill.
It will cover an area of 17,000 square kilometres.
The naval exercise will carry the range of activities including the shooting at sea targets, air targets, liberation of the hijacked ships, anti-piracy operations and search & rescue operations.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
It is a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces. The branch was founded after the Iranian Revolution in April 1979. The IRGC was founded by the order of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It defends the Iranian borders and maintains the internal order. The Iranian Constitution has tasked the Revolutionary Guard with the work of protecting the country’s Islamic republic political system. It also helps in preventing the foreign interference and coups. The Revolutionary Guards had 250,000 military personnel as of 2011. It includes ground forces, aerospace forces and the naval forces. The Naval forces are the primary forces having operational control of the Persian Gulf. The naval force also controls the paramilitary Basij militia. Sepah News is the media arm of the IRGC.
It is the Mediterranean Sea in the West Asia. The gulf is an extension of the Indian Ocean. It is extended through the Gulf of Oman and Strait of Hormuz. This water body is situated between Iran in the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula in the southwest.
The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has launched an app called Sandes. This instant messaging platform is similar to WhatsApp. It can be used for any type of communications by anyone. It requires a mobile number or an email id to get registered with the app.
The need to launch the app was felt to ensure a secure communication between the employees because the “Work from Home” culture has gained the momentum in the backdrop of nationwide lockdown that was imposed in March 2020 amid the spread of Covid-19.
NIC released the first version of the app in August 2020.
The app can be used by central and state government officials for intra-organisational and inter-organisational communication.
This app was initially launched for Android users and mainly for government officers.
Later, the service was also extended to iOS users and it is now available for the common public as well.
This app is a part of the government strategy to push the use of India-made software.
It will help in building an ecosystem of indigenously developed software and products.
The ministry of home affairs in the year 2020 had issued the advisory for the government employees to not use the platforms like Zoom for official communications because of security concerns. Before that, the Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) had also issued an advisory against Zoom with respect to the safety and privacy concerns.
The interface of the application is similar to other applications that are available in the arena. This app has no option to transfer chat history between two platforms. However, the chats on the government instant messaging systems (GIMS) or the Sandes App can be backed up with a users’ email. The app requires a valid mobile number or email id to register the user. It comprises of the features like broadcast message, group making, message forwarding and emojis. It also has an additional safety feature. The platform allows the user to mark the message as confidential. Thus, it makes the recipient aware that the message should not be forwarded to other users.
The lower house of the French parliament has approved the Ant-Radicalism bill in a bid to fight the Islamic radicalism.
The bill seeks to strengthen the government oversight of mosques and religious schools.
It will also take strong actions against the polygamy and forced marriage.
The bill provides for measures with the aim of rooting out the Islamic radicalism.
It is a part of the broader French efforts that it initiated with the aim of fighting extremism.
It will also promote respect for French values.
The bill was passed in the backdrop of fighting extremism in the country. This fight against extremism gained momentum after a teacher was beheaded in October 2020.
How Muslims are reacting?
Many of the French Muslims stated that this draft law will limit the religious freedom. They are of the view that this bill unfairly targets them since there are already enough laws to fight the terrorist violence in the country. Further, the critiques are of the view that this bill was passed keeping in view the Presidential election of 2021 in order to win the support from conservative and far-right voters.
The French Parliament is a bicameral legislature of the French Republic. It comprises of the Senate and the National Assembly. Both of the assembly conducts the legislative sessions at different locations in Paris. The senate holds the sessions at the Palais du Luxembourg while the National Assembly holds the sessions at Palais Bourbon. Both the houses have their own regulations and rules of procedure.
It was a historical political movement of the 18th and 19th centuries in the domain of liberalism. This movement is a precursor to the social liberalism. The movement seeks to transform or replace the fundamental principles of society through the social change, revolution, structural change or radical reform.
The Pi Beam, which is an IIT Madras-incubated start-up, recently launched the electric two-wheeler called ‘PiMO’.
Pi Beam has set an aim of selling 10,000 vehicles by the end of financial year 2021-22.
The bike was founded by an IIT Madras Alum Visakh Sasikumar.
100 customers have already pre-booked the e-bike.
The electric two-wheeler can charge faster than a smartphone.
The sustainable and affordable bike has a range of 50 km.
The e-bike was launched for the personal and commercial needs.
It has been priced at Rs. 30,000.
It does not require licence or registration.
The e-bike will offer the green and easy mobility on Indian roads.
90 per cent of the components of bike such as crucial batteries and controllers were manufactured in India.
Thus, it is among few EVs in the local market that follows the spirit of ‘Make in India’ spirit.
Features of the e-bike
The e-bike stands between an electric bicycle and the entry-level electric scooter. It has a top speed of 25 kmph. The e-bike provided a higher travel range when compared to the electric bicycle category. The bike also offers a Battery Swapping’ Technology.
Battery Swapping Technology
Using this technology, a drained battery can be exchanged with a fully charged battery at the designated locations.
Pi Beam Electric
It is an an IIT Madras-incubated start-up. The company provides for a range of green, stylish, affordable and easy-to-use EV solutions for personal and commercial uses. IT also offers an end-to-end micro-mobility sustainable EVs. The EVs are data-driven that augment the productivity for the last-mile logistics and transportation.
ACC Ready Mix Concrete has recently introduced its new low carbon range of concrete called ECOPact. It is a “Green Concrete” that has been introduced for a high-performing, sustainable and circular construction.
ECOPact was launched in Mumbai and Hyderabad in the first phase.
It will be rolled out across the country in a phased manner with in a few weeks.
The ECOPact was rolled out with the objectives of enhancing the transition towards low-carbon and circular construction.
The innovative manufacturing process of the ECOPact will reduce the CO2 emissions by up to 100 percent.
It will also enhance the sustainable products offerings in the construction industry.
It is a concrete that comprises 30-50 percent lower embodied carbon content as compared to the reference concrete which is designed with OPC.
This innovative range uses CO2 reduced binders.
It was manufactured using the optimized mix designs in order to reduce the carbon footprint.
It is suitable for all structural components ranging from foundations including elements such as columns, external or internal walls, beams, slabs, driveways and walkways.
The ECOPact range will help the developers to obtain the Green Points from Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
The concrete has superior durability and finish as compared to conventional concrete.
Types of the ECOPact range products
The customers can choose the concrete on the basis of desired level of CO2 reduction and sustainability objectives.
ECOPact PRIME- It offers CO2 reduction up to 50-70 percent.
ECOPact MAX- It offers CO2 reduction greater than 70 percent.
ECOPact ZERO- It is a combination of concrete technology excellence and climate action. Thus, it offers the elimination of carbon footprint of concrete. Thus, reduces the overall carbon footprint of any structures.
It is one of the largest producers of cement. The company is a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim. It was established in Mumbai in August 1936.
The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC)
It is a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). It was established in 2001. The council seeks “To enable a sustainable built environment for all”. It also seeks to make India a global leader in sustainable built environment by 2025.
The ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will release the third edition of the Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary on February 17, 2021. The new edition will comprise of 10,000 terms of daily. It will also include the academic, legal, medical technical, administrative and agricultural terms in it.
The second edition of the Indian Sign language was released in the year 2019. It comprised of 6,000 terms while its first edition was released in the year 2018 with 3,000 terms.
Significance of the launch
The launch of the ISL dictionary is a step towards fulfilling needs of hearing and speech impaired in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016. It also complies with the initiative by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) called “Accessible Digital Textbooks for All”. The ISL will be essential in enhancing the vocabulary and the capabilities to understand concepts of the impaired.
What is Indian Sign Language (ISL)?
It is a set of hand and facial gestures that is used to communicate. It is commonly used by the hearing and speech impaired. The ISL has its own grammar, syntax and regional dialects. It comprises of different gestures for same word or sentiment. The sign language is a recognized official language in many countries including USA.
Impairing in India
The World Health Organization (WHO) report states that, prevalence of hearing impairment in India is around 6.3% as of 2018. It means around 63 million people are suffering from auditory loss. Further, the adult-onset deafness in India accounts for 7.6% while the childhood-onset deafness accounts for 2%.
Government initiatives to prevent disability
The government had started the accessibility of news and educational videos by incorporating sign language or written text subtitles and transcripts.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016 was passed to Include provisions for hearing impaired.
New Education Policy, 2020 also contain provisions of universalization of education for all including the disabled with 100% Gross Enrolment ratio from preschool to secondary level by 2030.
National Program for Prevention and Control of Deafness (NPPCD) was launched in 2006 to tackle high incidence of deafness.
The government will bring about amendments in the two acts in order to facilitate the privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs).
Amendments will be made in the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970 and Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1980.
These two acts had facilitated for the nationalisation of banks in two phases.
Now, in order to privatise the PSU Banks, provisions of these acts have to be changed.
The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced about the privatisation of PSBs, while presenting Union Budget 2021-22.
PSBs will be privatised as a disinvestment drive in order to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore.
Three banks including the IDBI banks will be privatised as per the announcement.
Recent Merger of Banks
The government had also merged 10 public sector banks into four in the year 2020. Thus, the total number of PSBs came down to 12 from 27.
Under the plan, the United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce were merged with the Punjab National Bank (PNB). This made PNB the second largest PSB.
Further, the Syndicate Bank was merged with Canara Bank.
Allahabad Bank was merged under the Indian Bank.
Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank were merged with the Union Bank of India.
In 2019, the Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank were merged with the Bank of Baroda.
In April 2017, SBI had merged five of its associate banks namely, the State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Travancore and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.
Banking Companies (Acquisition and transfer of undertakings) Act, 1970
This act deals with the merger of banks. It provides for the acquisition and transfer of undertakings of certain banks with respect to their size, coverage, resources, and organization so as to control heights of the economy.
The Reserve Bank of India revealed the credit default swaps (CDS) and has allowed the retail users to do the transactions in permitted credit derivatives in order to hedge their underlying credit risk.
As per the guidelines, the non-retail users will be allowed to do the transactions in credit derivatives for the purpose of hedging as well as other purposes.
The person who is resident in India and a non-resident can participate in the market.
As per the guideline, the exchanges can offer standardised single-name CDS contracts by specifying guaranteed cash settlement.
The commercial papers, listed or unlisted rated rupee corporate bonds, Unrated bonds issued by the special purpose vehicles, certificates of deposit and non-convertible debentures of maturity up to 1 year are eligible to be a reference or deliverable obligation in the CDS contract.
What is Credit Default Swap?
It is a derivative or contract that permits the investor to swap or offset his credit risk with another investor.
It is a financial swap agreement where the seller of CDS will compensate buyer in case of a debt default.
In such agreement, the seller of CDS insures the buyer against asset defaulting.
Here, the buyer of CDS makes a series of payments to the seller and expect to receive payoff in case of asset defaults.
In case of asset default, buyer of the CDS receives compensation while the seller of CDS takes possession of the defaulted loan.
The CDS can be purchased by anyone even those buyers who do not hold the loan instrument can buy CDS.
What is Hedging?
It is a risk management strategy that is employed to offset losses in investments. The losses are offset by taking an opposite position in the defaulted asset. Hedging though reduces the risk associated with the assets but it also reduces the potential profits.