Current Affairs Analysis

12th May 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979; Aarogya Setu Emergency Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020; Sample Registration System Report; Men more vulnerable to COVID-19; Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), MSME Technology Centres; Toda Tribe; Toda Embroidery; Gandhi Peace prize; Belarus; International Nurses Day 2020; Bharosa Helpline; Arjitha Sevas; Precedence Effect; Pranavayu programme; SwasthVayu
By IASToppers
May 12, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Aarogya Setu Emergency Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020

Government Schemes and Policies

  • Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979

Issues related to Health and Education

  • Sample Registration System Report
  • Men more vulnerable to COVID-19

Economy

  • MSME Technology Centres

Also in News

  • Toda Tribe

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Gandhi Peace prize
  • Belarus
  • International Nurses Day 2020
  • Bharosa Helpline
  • Arjitha Sevas
  • Precedence Effect
  • Pranavayu programme
  • SwasthVayu

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Polity & Governance

Aarogya Setu Emergency Data Access and Knowledge Sharing Protocol, 2020

The centre has recently issued a set of protocols to regulate the definition, collection, processing and storage of data by the contact-tracing app.

Rationale:

  • To ensure the effective implementation of the government’s health response to Covid-19.

Provisions:

  • The Centre specified that only the data of those who are infected, are at high risk of being infected or who have come in contact with infected people are most likely to be collected.
  • The data of those infected will not be shared with any third party in usual circumstances, the government may do so if it is “strictly necessary” to formulate or implement health responses.
  • Contact, location and self-assessment data of individuals will be permanently deleted in 180 days in most cases, but demographic data will remain for as long as the protocol remains in force.
  • Any user whose demographic data is stored with the government through the Aarogya Setu app can now request for its deletion.
  • If an individual requests that it be deleted, it will do so within 30 days of the request.
  • The protocol will be applicable for the next six months.
  • It increases the period of retention of users’ data from the earlier 60 days as specified in the app’s privacy policy to 180 days.
  • Violations of the data security protocols by any entity will be punishable under Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, which invites jail term for up to two years.

Need:

  • The move came after the government faced heavy criticism about the vulnerabilities on the app as it risked the details of millions of Indians which could be accessed easily.
  • The digital rights activists had accused the app to violate the privacy of the users.
[Ref: Hindustan times]

Government Schemes and Policies

Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979

The unprecedented distress and misery faced by migrant workers due to the current lockdown has drawn attention to a beneficial legislation dedicated to their welfare.

Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979:

  • Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 seeks to regulate the employment of inter-State migrants and their conditions of service.

Applicability:

  • It is applicable to every establishment that employs five or more migrant workmen from other States; or if it had employed five or more such workmen on any day in the preceding 12 months.
  • It is also applicable to contractors who employed a similar number of inter-State workmen.
  • The Act would apply regardless of whether the five or more workmen were in addition to others employed in the establishment or by the contractors.
  • It envisages a system of registration of such establishments.

Provisions:

  • The principal employer is prohibited from employing inter-State workmen without a certificate of registration from the relevant authority.
  • The law also lays down that every contractor who recruits workmen from one State for deployment in another State should obtain a licence to do so.
  • The wage rates, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of service of an inter-State migrant workmen shall be the same as those extended to other workmen in the same establishment, if the nature of their work is similar.
  • In other cases, it would be as prescribed by the appropriate government.
  • In no case, shall the wages be lower than what is prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act.

Beneficial provisions for inter-State migrants:

  • The provision for registration of establishments employing inter-State workers creates a system of accountability.
  • It acts as the first layer of formalising the utilisation of their labour.
  • It helps the government keep track of the number of workers employed and provides a legal basis for regulating their conditions of service.
  • As part of the licensing process, contractors are bound by certain conditions.
  • These include committing them to providing terms and conditions of the agreement or any other arrangement on the basis of which they recruit workers.
  • These terms include the remuneration payable, hours of work, fixation of wages and other essential amenities in respect of the inter-State migrant workmen.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Issues related to Health and Education

Sample Registration System Report

Sample Registration System (SRS) is the largest demographic survey in the country undertaken by the Registrar General of India.

About:

  • The survey is mandated to provide annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate, fertility and mortality indicators at the state and national level, in both urban and rural areas.
  • Initiated on a pilot basis by the Registrar General of India in a few states in 1964-65, it became fully operational during 1969-70.
  • These details were released by the Centre recently in its Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin based on data collected for 2018.
  • The national birth rate in 2018 stood at 20, and death and infant mortality rates stood at 6.2 and 32.
  • The rates are calculated per one thousand of the population.

Major Highlights:

1. Birth rate:

  • Birth rate is a crude measure of fertility of a population and a crucial determinant of population growth.
  • India’s birth rate has declined drastically over the last four decades from 36.9 in 1971 to 20.0 in 2018.
  • The rural-urban differential has also narrowed.
  • The birth rate has continued to be higher in rural areas compared to urban areas in the last four decades.
  • There has been about an 11 per cent decline in birth rate in the last decade, from 22.5 in 2009 to 20.0 in 2018.
  • The corresponding decline in rural areas is 24.1 to 21.6, and in urban areas, it is 18.3 to 16.7.
  • Bihar has the highest birth rate at 26.2 and Andaman and Nicobar Islands has the lowest birth rate of 11.2.

2. Death rate:

  • Mortality is one of the basic components of population change and the related data is essential for demographic studies and public health administration.
  • The death rate of India has witnessed a significant decline over the last four decades from 14.9 in 1971 to 6.2 in 2018.
  • The decline has been steeper in rural areas.
  • In the last decade, death rate at an all-India level has declined from 7.3 to 6.2.
  • The corresponding decline in rural areas is 7.8 to 6.7 and in urban areas, 5.8 to 5.1.
  • Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate at 8 and Delhi, an almost entirely urban state, has a rate of 3.3, indicating better healthcare facilities.

3. Infant Mortality rate:

  • The data shows that against the national infant mortality rate (IMR) of 32, Madhya Pradesh has an IMR of 48 and Nagaland 4.
  • The present figure of 32 is about one-fourth as compared to 1971 (129).
  • In the last 10 years, IMR has witnessed a decline of about 35 per cent in rural areas and about 32 per cent in urban areas.
  • The IMR at an all-India level has declined from 50 to 32 in the last decade.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Men more vulnerable to COVID-19

As per a new study higher concentrations of a key enzyme in men’s blood as the reason for the increased risk of death they face compared to women.

Major Highlights:

  • Though men and women are equally likely to get infected, severe disease and death is significantly higher in men.
  • Men are 2.4 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than women as per the study.
  • Men have higher levels of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is a protein in the blood that Sars-CoV2 (virus that causes Covid-19) uses to enter human cells.
  • Sars-CoV2 causes infection by using its crown-like spike protein to bind to ACE2 on the surface of human cells, from where it invades the air sacs in the lungs, leading to respiratory distress.
  • ACE2 is found not only in lungs, but also the heart, kidneys and tissues lining blood vessels, and there are particularly high levels in the testes.
  • Its regulation in the testes may partially explain higher ACE2 concentrations in men, and why men are more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2:

  • ACE2 is a receptor on the surface of cells that binds to the coronavirus and allows it to enter and infect healthy cells after it has been modified by another protein on the surface of the cell, called TMPRSS2.
  • High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and therefore, it is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of lung disorders related to Covid-19.
[Ref: Hindustan times]

Economy

MSME Technology Centres

The MSME technology centres have been active in the present COVID crisis working on supporting the manufacture of medical equipment, PPE, mask, sanitiser etc.

About:

  • The Technology Centers are set up by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • They play a crucial role in providing practical skill development training to more than 2 lakh youth and industry workforce every year.
  • They have been established with an estimated cost of INR 2200 crore with support in funds from the World Bank to the tune of USD 200 Mn.
  • At present there are 18 MSME Technology Centres in India.

Vision:

  • The Programme is expected to improve the competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in key manufacturing industries across India by:
    • Facilitating improved access to manufacturing technology.
    • Improving further the availability and employability of skilled workers.
    • Establishing strong focus in providing business & technical advisory services.

Objective:

  • Access to advanced manufacturing technologies.
  • Skilling manpower by offering opportunities for technical skill development to the youth at varying levels ranging from school dropouts to graduate engineers.
  • Providing technical and business advisory support to MSME entrepreneurs.

Functions:

  • Imparting long-term and short-term training to youngsters in the field of Tool & Die making course with the latest technologies both for fresher’s and personnel already engaged.
  • Providing Consultancy Services primarily to MSME Units in the field of Tool Engineering aimed at improving the productivity of the MSME Units.
  • Providing common facility services in precision machining / heat treatment and other technical engineering know-how in tooling to MSME in the Country.
  • Design and manufacture high precision quality of Moulds, Tools, Dies, Jigs, Fixtures, etc.
[Ref: PIB]

Also in News

Toda Tribe

The Toda artisans from the Nilgiris have managed to find work and sustain lives despite the lockdown.

What is the issue?

  • More than a hundred women and indigenous Toda artisans from the Nilgiris are producing thousands of stylish, embroidered masks for local residents, police, and sanitary workers.
  • The Toda artisans get anywhere between ₹50-100 for each single piece produced.
  • Due to the demand for the masks, the tribe has found work despite the lockdown.

Toda Tribe:

  • Toda people are a Dravidian ethnic group who live in the Nilgiri Mountains of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Toda language is Dravidian but is unusual in the sense that it is different among all the languages belonging to the Dravidian family.
  • They traditionally traded dairy products, cane and bamboo articles with the other Nilgiri people.
  • The pastoral tribe live in settlements called mund, consisting of small thatched houses.

Toda Embroidery:

  • Toda Embroidery is an art work among the Toda tribe of Nilgiris, in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Toda women embroider the traditional draped garment called poothkuli or shawl.
  • The main material is unbleached white cotton is hand woven in single width and the embroidery is done by counting threads of red and black colour.
  • The embroidery is worked on the reverse of the cloth to produce a rich, embossed effect on the surface.
  • This handicraft product is listed as a geographically tagged product and is protected under the Geographical Indications of Goods(Registration & Protection) Act 1999 of the Government of India.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Key Facts for Prelims

Gandhi Peace Prize

  • The International Gandhi Peace Prize has been awarded annually by the Government of India.
  • The Government of India launched the International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi.
  • This is an annual award given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.
  • The award carries ₹ 1 Crore in cash, a plaque and a citation.
  • It is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, creed or gender.
  • A jury consisting of the Prime Minister of India, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and one other eminent person decides the awardee each year.

Belarus

  • Belarus is the only European country that did not adopt any social distancing measures during the pandemic.
  • This move comes as they are worried about the economic performance of their country.

Location of Belarus:

  • Belarus is a landlocked country located in eastern Europe and became independent in 1991.
  • It is bordered by Lithuania and Latvia to the north, Russia to the north and east, Ukraine to the south, and Poland to the west.
  • Capital: Minsk

International Nurses Day 2020

  • The International Nurses Day 2020 is being observed on May 12.
  • Theme- Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health
  • It demonstrates how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges.
  • It will inspire nurses and make the public aware of their contribution in healthcare and health management.

Bharosa Helpline

  • The Ministry of Human Resources and Development has launched a helpline Bharosa.
  • It is aimed to relieve the distress of the students of Central University of Odisha during the troubled time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It envisages providing Cognitive Emotional Rehabilitation Services to all University Students of Odisha.

Arjitha Sevas

  • Arjitham means Darshan or Seva to the Lord on payment of a fee as fixed by the Balaji Temple Management, Kerala.
  • Admission to any particular seva on payment of a fee is known as “Amantranotsavam”.
  • One can sit and watch the seva for a minimum of 30 minutes and get blessings from Lord Balaji.

Precedence Effect

  • A new research has found that tree frogs create an ‘auditory illusion’ to protect themselves while trying to find a mate.
  • The frogs become easy targets for predators and parasites when they send mating calls.
  • But they have found out this unique way to protect themselves.
  • Male tree frogs essentially overlap their mating calls with those of their neighbours.
  • When this happens, an auditory illusion takes place and predators are more attracted to the leading call, leaving other frogs to find mates without risking their lives.
  • This is called the ‘Precedence Effect’ and Humans experience it too.
  • When we hear two short sounds in quick succession, we assume the sound is coming from the source of the first one.

Pranavayu programme

  • The Bengaluru city has launched Pranavayu programme to create awareness on the need to self examine the respiratory health for the residents of the city.
  • It helps people with low oxygen levels in their blood to get themselves checked early before their ailments become fatal.
  • Several deaths due to COVID-19 are reported due to Severe Acute Respiratory illness (SARI).

SwasthVayu

  • CSIR – National Aerospace Laboratories Bangalore has developed a Non Invasive BiPAP Ventilator called SwasthVayu in a record time of 36 days to treat COVID-19 patients.
  • BiPAP Non-Invasive ventilator is a microcontroller-based precise closed-loop adaptive control system with a built-in biocompatible “3D printed manifold & coupler” with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter).
  • The system has been certified for safety and performance by NABL accredited agencies.
  • The major advantage of this machine is that it is simple to use without any specialized nursing, cost effective, compact and configured with majority of indigenous components.

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