Polity & Governance
- New instructions issued on Certificate of Coverage (COC)
- Mission Retro-Fitment
Issues related to Health & Education
- India has second highest number of obese children in world: Study
- 51 EMR Schools made Functional during The Last three years
- Ratification of core ILO Conventions on Child Labour
Bilateral & International Relations
- India to be Co-Partner Country in ANUGA 2017
- Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) signs Agreement with the Metal Industries Development Institute (MIDI), Ethiopia
- Panama dumps Taiwan, supports One-China policy
Defence & Security Issues
- Successful Flight Test of ATGM Nag
Key Facts for Prelims
- EPFO e-court Management System launched
- Army’s Super – 40 initiative
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Polity & Governance
New instructions issued on Certificate of Coverage (COC)
To extend benefit to the international workers, the Ministry of Labour and employment has issued new instructions to all field functionaries regarding COC (Certificate of Coverage).
- Under this new law, the employer has been advised to submit the application form for COC one month in advance and COC is issued prior to departure of the employee from India.
What is Certificate of Coverage (COC)?
- A COC otherwise known as a ‘detachment certificate’ must be obtained by an international worker to avoid double coverage.
- A COC will be issued by the worker’s home country’s social security authority in accordance with the provisions of the relevant SSA.
- The COC serves as a proof of detachment on the basis of which exemption from social security contributions or social security taxes in the host country are available for the period of detachment.
- For example, an Indian national can apply for a COC from the Indian social security authorities before being deputed to Germany to work with an establishment to which the German social security regulations apply. This will exempt him/her from contributing to German social security for the period stated in the COC.
- The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has been authorized to issue the Certificate of Coverage to the employees posted to the countries having signed Agreement with the Government of India.
- In India, a major challenge that was faced by an employer was the considerable time taken by the Provident Fund office to issue a CoC.
- Another common challenge was the incorrect details mentioned by the Provident Fund office on the CoC. These challenges were largely due to the old CoC application process.
Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu has launched Mission Retro-Fitment to enhance the passenger experience by upgrading the existing fleet of coaches.
About Mission Retro-Fitment:
Mission Retro-Fitment is an ambitious program of the Ministry of Railways to upgrade the level of furnishing & amenities in the coaches of Indian Railways.
- The refurbished coaches will have better furnishing, aesthetics & amenities and better safety features which are aimed at providing a safe and comfortable travel to the railway passengers.
- Under Mission Retro-Fitment, 40,000 coaches will be refurbished and retrofitted in the next five years. The mission aims to induct about 40,000 coaches with upgraded interiors by 2022-23.
- The mission will be one of the largest retro fitment projects in the world.
- The mission will be carried out without affecting the traffic operation.
- It is estimated that cost of refurbishing per coach to be approximately Rs 30 lakhs.
Features of the refurbished coaches will be:
World class ambience
- Panels without visible screws, LED Lights, Modular toilets with concealed plumbing, Branded fittings, Powered venetian blinds, Anti-Graffiti coating, etc.
Enhanced Passenger Safety
- Fire and Smoke Detection System (in newly manufactured AC coaches), Double acting compartment door (in AC coaches), Rounded edges at most locations for injury-free, etc.
Caring for the Environment
- Bio toilets
Use of better materials
- Such as Polycarbonate ABS, Advanced Composites, Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic, GFRE, Stainless Steel, etc.
Enhanced Passenger convenience
- Passenger Address & Passenger Information System, Braille Signage, Ergonomic design, increased number of mobile / laptop charging points, etc.
Issues related to Health & Education
India has second highest number of obese children in world: Study
According to a study, India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China.
Highlights of the study:
- The study found that 14.4 million kids in India have excess weight.
- Globally, over two billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being obese, and an increasing number die from these conditions.
- However, of the four million deaths attributed to excess body weight in 2015, nearly 40% occurred among people whose body mass index (BMI) fell below the threshold considered “obese”.
- Among the 20 most populous countries, the highest level of obesity among kids and young adults was in the US at nearly 13%; Egypt topped the list for adult obesity at about 35%.
- Lowest rates were in Bangladesh and Vietnam, respectively, at 1%.
- China with 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million had the highest numbers of obese children; the US with 79.4 million and China with 57.3 million had the highest numbers of obese adults in 2015.
- The prevalence of obesity has doubled since 1980 in more than 70 countries and has increased in most other nations.
- Although the prevalence of obesity among children has been lower than among adults, the rate of increase in childhood obesity in many countries was greater than that of adults.
51 EMR Schools made Functional during The Last three years
Ministry of Tribal Affairs has actively initiated various efforts during the last three years to make more Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) functional.
- As a result, 51 new EMRS were made functional during the last three years.
- 161 EMR Schools are functional right now, while this figure was at 110 in the year 2013-14.
- More than 52 thousand tribal students are taking education in 161 EMR Schools of 26 States.
- In order to further educational opportunities for more ST children, Government has sought to extend the facility of EMRSs in all the 672 Blocks where ST population is more than 50% of the total population in a span of next five years.
About Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS):
- Eklavya Model Residential School Scheme was started in 1998 and first school was started in the year 2000 in Maharashtra.
- EMRSs have been functioning as institutions of excellence for tribal students.
- A total of 259 schools have been sanctioned during the last 17 years, out of which, 72 EMRS were sanctioned during last three years.
- As per existing EMRS Guidelines of 2010, at least one EMRS is to be set up in each Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) / Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) having 50% ST population in the area.
- The capital cost for setting up the school complex, including hostels and staff quarters etc. has been earmarked at Rs. 12 crore with a provision to go up to Rs.16 crore in hill areas, deserts and islands.
- Recurring cost during the first year for these schools would be Rs. 42000/-per child, with a provision of raising it by 10% every second year to compensate for inflation etc.
Objectives of EMRS:
The objective of EMRS is to provide quality middle and high level education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas, not only to enable them to avail of reservation in high and professional educational courses and as jobs in government and public and private sectors but also to have access to the best opportunities in education at par with the non ST population.
This would be achieved by:
- Comprehensive physical, mental and socially relevant development of all students enrolled in each and every EMRS. Students will be empowered to be change agent, beginning in their school, in their homes, in their village and finally in a larger context.
- Focus differentially on the educational support to be made available to those in Standards XI and XII, and those in standards VI to X, so that their distinctive needs can be met,
- Support the annual running expenses in a manner that offers reasonable remuneration to the staff and upkeep of the facilities.
- Support the construction of infrastructure that provides education, physical, environmental and cultural needs of student life.
Ratification of core ILO Conventions on Child Labour
India has ratified two key ILO conventions on child labour concerning the elimination of child labour, the Minimum Age Convention (No 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No 182).
- India is the 170th ILO member state to ratify convention No 138 and 181st member to ratify convention No. 182.
1. Minimum Age Convention:
- The Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, is a Convention adopted in 1973 by the International Labour Organization.
- It requires ratifying states to pursue a national policy designed to ensure the effective abolition of child labour and to raise progressively the minimum age for admission to employment or work.
- Countries are free to specify a minimum age for labour, with a minimum of 15 years. A declaration of 14 years is also possible when for a specified period of time.
- Laws may also permit light work for children aged 13–15 (not harming their health or school work). The minimum age of 18 years is specified for work which “is likely to jeopardise the health, safety or morals of young persons”.
- Definitions of the type of work and derogations are only possible after tripartite consultations (if such a system exists in the ratifying country).
2. Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention:
- The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, known in short as the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999.
- By ratifying this Convention, a country commits itself to taking immediate action to prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labour.
- The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is responsible for assisting countries in this regard as well as monitoring compliance. One of the methods used by IPEC to assist countries in this regard are Time-bound Programmes.
- The convention includes forms of child labour, which are predefined worst forms of child labour. They are also sometimes referred to as automatic worst forms of child labour.
About International Labour Organisation (ILO):
- The ILO is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all.
- It was established in 1919 as an agency of the League of Nations and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- India is a founder member of the ILO. At present, it has 187 members.
- The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol.
- So far India has ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Core or Fundamental or Conventions.
Bilateral & International Relations
India to be Co-Partner Country in ANUGA 2017
India has signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Participation in the ANUGA Exhibition with Ms Katharina C Hamma, Chief Operating Officer, Koelnmesse GmBH (Organizers of ANUGA).
ANUGA – an acronym for Allgemeine Nahrungs Und Genußmittel Ausstellung (General Food and Non- essential Provisions Exhibition) is the world’s biggest and most important trade fair for Food and beverage trade.
- It takes place every 2 years.
- ANUGA 2017 is the 34th edition.
- ANUGA offers an extensive supporting programme with Lectures, Special exhibition and attractive industry events
- ANUGA is the leading export platform with 7,189 exhibitors from 109 countries with over 85% of Exhibitors from abroad.
- 1,60,000 decision makers from the retail and out-of-home market from 192 countries visited during last ANUGA. 66% of the industry visitors are foreigners.
Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) signs Agreement with the Metal Industries Development Institute (MIDI), Ethiopia
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has entered into an agreement with the Metal Industries Development Institute (MIDI), Ethiopia to implement a twinning programme.
- The MoU is aimed at R&D capacity building of MIDI.
- CSIR has clinched this multi-million US dollar assignment through a process where many international organisations were considered.
- The twinning is one of the largest programs (in terms of contractual amount) between a CSIR institute and a foreign entity.
- Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), established in 1942, is an autonomous body and the largest research and development (R&D) organisation in India.
- Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, it operates as an autonomous body registered under the Registration of Societies Act of 1860.
- The research and development activities of CSIR includes aerospace engineering, Structural engineering, ocean sciences, Life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environment.
Panama dumps Taiwan, supports One-China policy
Panama cut ties with Taiwan, switching its diplomatic relations to the People’s Republic of China and accepting the “One China” policy.
- Panama now “recognizes that there is only one China in the world” and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.
- With Panama switching sides, Taiwan’s decades-old attempt to act as a “sovereign country” would likely face fresh challenges.
- Over the years Beijing has tried to choke Taiwan diplomatically in a bid to force the self-ruled island to accept itself as a part of China.
What is One-China Policy?
- It is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government.
- Under the policy, any country that wants diplomatic relations with mainland China must break official ties with Taipei that it considers a ‘breakaway province.’
How China has been trying to choke Taiwan in recent years?
- Beijing doesn’t trust present Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling party, which advocates independence for Taiwan.
- After Tsai came to power last year, China had cut official communication channels with her government in a bid to pressure her to accept that Taiwan is part of China.
- A year ago, Taiwan had diplomatic ties with 23 countries. But in the last one year itself, as many as three countries have severed diplomatic ties with the country, which is claimed by China as its own — a part of the mainland.
- In 2007, Costa Rica was the first of Taiwan’s Central American partners to switch allegiance to China. It was southern African nation of Malawi in 2008. Gambia in West Africa followed suit in 2013.
- Last year, small African states Sao Tome and Principe switched ties from Taiwan to China. Taiwan is now left with only two allies in Africa: Burkina Faso in the west and the Kingdom of Swaziland in the south. Now, Taiwan’s only diplomatic partner in Europe is Holy See.
Defence & Security Issues
Successful Flight Test of ATGM Nag
The Anti-Tank Guided Missile – ‘Nag’ was successfully flight tested in the desert ranges of Rajasthan.
- Nag is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, anti-tank guided missile.
- It is developed by India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to support both mechanised infantry and airborne forces of the Indian Army.
- The missile incorporates an advanced passive homing guidance system and possesses high single-shot kill probability.
- It is designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.
- Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms.
- The land version is currently available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA), which is derived from a BMP-2 tracked infantry combat vehicle.
- The Nag missile was indigenously developed under the Indian Ministry of Defence’s integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), which also involved the development of four other missiles that are Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
Key Facts for Prelims
EPFO e-court Management System launched
- EPFO e-court Management System is launched.
- The objective of this is a transparent and electronic case management system.
- All paper/evidence/documents can be filed online and the status can also be viewed online.
Army’s Super – 40 initiative
- It is a coaching initiative by the Army that has been training local children to take Engineering Entrance Examination.
- The coaching is conducted at Srinagar by Army, its training partner Centre for Social Responsibility & Learning (CSRL) and Petronet LNG.
- Army’s Super – 40 initiative for coaching the J&K youth for Engineering Entrance Exams broke all previous records when 26 boys and two girls from the state cracked the IIT-JEE Mains Exam 2017.
- Navies of India and Australia will participate in bilateral maritime exercise AUSINDEX-17 this week with an aim to enhancing interoperability and cooperation between the two forces.
- Indian naval ships Jyoti, Shivalik and Kamorta are on a port visit to Freemantle, Australia from June 13 to 17 and will join the exercise.
- This would be the second edition of the exercise with the maiden one having been conducted at Visakhapatnam in 2015.
- The exercise is aimed at increasing interoperability and is in consonance with the growing cooperation between the two countries.
- In April this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull visited India and held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance the partnership between the two countries.
- In May this year, Singapore and India held a maritime bilateral exercise SIMBEX in the disputed South China Sea.