Current Affairs Analysis

21st January 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

China's one-child policy; “Reciprocating territory” under Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908; Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); Global Social Mobility Index 2020; What is social mobility? National Agriculture Market (NAM); Malthusian theory; White Rhinocerous; What is In- vitro fertilisation (IVF)? Global Investment Trend Monitor report; What is polio? What is the Pulse Polio Programme? Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV); WHO initiative for Polio Eradication; etc.
By IASToppers
January 27, 2020

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • National Agriculture Market spur diversification in Punjab

Issues related to Health & Education

  • 2020 Pulse Polio Programme begin

Social Issues

  • Global Social Mobility Index 2020

Economy

  • India among top 10 FDI recipients: UN Report

Bilateral & International Relations

  • China’s Birth Rate falls to its lowest in 70 Years
  • Iran to quit global nuclear treaty if case goes to UN
  • UAE has been declared ‘reciprocating territory’ by India

Science & Technology

  • An embryo of Northern White Rhino has been created

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Government Schemes & Policies

National Agriculture Market spur diversification in Punjab

With Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) organising awareness camps, training programmes and seminars on the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) across mandis in Punjab, it can help Punjab farmers break free from the ‘wheat and paddy cycle’.

Punjab-Mandi-Board-(PMB)-had-recently-organised-awareness-camps

National Agriculture Market (NAM)

  • It is a pan-India electronic trading portal which was announced in 2014-15 union budget.

What is e-NAM

  • It seeks to network the existing Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and other market yards for creating a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • NAM is a “virtual” market but it has a physical market at the back end.This virtual market was proposed to be achieved through the setting up of a common e-platform to which initially 585 APMCs selected by the states are linked.
  • NAM was launched on 14 April 2016 with 21 mandis from 8 States joining it and the first phase of connecting 250 mandies was over on 6 October 2016.
  • It will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF).   
  • It will be set up by Ministry of Agriculture through Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC).
  • The Central Government will provide the software free of cost to the states and in addition, a grant of up to Rs. 30 lakhs per mandi/market will be given as a one-time measure for related equipment and infrastructure requirements.
  • In order to promote genuine price discovery, it is proposed to provide the private mandis also with access to the software but they would not have any monetary support from Government.
  • An amount of Rs. 200 crore has been earmarked for the scheme from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
  • The target is to cover 585 selected regulated markets across the country, with the following break-up:
  • 2015-16: 250 mandis  
  • 2016-17: 200 mandis  
  • 2017-18: 135 mandis
[Ref: The Indian Express]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

2020 Pulse Polio Programme begin

On January 18, The Rashtrapati Bhavan became the site of a polio vaccination drive, to mark the beginning of this year’s Pulse Polio Programme.

Pulse-Polio-Programme

What is polio?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.
  • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person.

What-is-Polio

  • It spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine.
  • From intestine, the virus can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
  • Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.
  • In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.
  • There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.

Polio in India:

  • The WHO on February 24, 2012, removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.

the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.

  • Two years later, the South-East Asia Region of the WHO, of which India is a part, was certified as polio-free.

What is the Pulse Polio Programme?

  • India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.
  • All children under 5 years are given 2 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in month of December and January every year.
  • PPI Programme was initiated with objective of achieving 100% coverage under OPV.
  • Approximately 17.4 crore children of less than five years are given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio eradication from the country.
  • According to the Ministry of Health, the last polio case in the country was reported from Howrah district of West Bengal in January 2011.
  • The WHO on February 24, 2012, removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.

wild polio virus transmission

About IPV

  • Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), also called the Salk vaccine, consists of inactivated (killed) poliovirus strains of all three poliovirus types.
  • IPV is given by intramuscular or intradermal injection and needs to be administered by a trained health worker.
  • IPV produces antibodies in the blood to all three types of poliovirus. In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis.
  • IPV is an evidence-based intervention that not only ensures continued protection of children against all types of polio viruses, but also helps save vaccine — a move bound to positively impact global vaccine supply in the coming years.
  • In early 2016, India became the first country globally to introduce fractional doses of IPV in childhood immunisation programme in eight states and Union territories

WHO initiative for Polio Eradication

  • In 1988, the Forty-first World Health Assembly adopted a resolution for the worldwide eradication of polio.
  • It marked the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), spearheaded by national governments.
[Ref: The Indian Express, WHO]

 

Social Issues

Global Social Mobility Index 2020

India has been ranked very low at 76th place out of 82 countries on a new Social Mobility Index compiled by the World Economic Forum, while Denmark has topped the charts.

World-Economic-Forum-has-come-out-with-its-first-ever-Global-Social-Mobility-Report

Highlights of the report

India Specific

  • India ranked 76th out of 82 economies.

World-Economic-Forum-has-come-out-with-its-first-ever-Global-Social-Mobility-Report-2

  • It ranks 41st in lifelong learning and 53rd in working conditions.
  • The Areas of improvement for India include social protection (76th) and fair wage distribution (79th).
  • India among the five countries that stand to gain the most from a better social mobility score that seeks to measure parameters necessary for creating societies where every person has the same.

Global Scenario

  • The Nordic nations hold the top five spots, led by Denmark in the first place (scoring 85 points), followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden (all above 83 points) and Iceland (82 points). Rounding out the top 10 are the Netherlands (6th), Switzerland (7th), Austria (8th), Belgium (9th) and Luxembourg (10th).

World Economic Forum has come out with its first-ever Global Social Mobility Report 1

  • While the five economies with the most to gain from boosting social mobility are China, the United States, India, Japan and Germany.
  • Among the world’s large emerging economies, the Russian Federation is the most socially mobile of the BRICS grouping, ranking 39th, with a score of 64 points. Next is China (45th), followed by Brazil (60th), India (76th) and South Africa (77th).
  • Increasing social mobility by 10 percent would benefit social cohesion and boost the world’s economies by nearly 5 percent by 2030.
  • The most socially mobile societies in the world are all European.
  • The report also makes a powerful case for stakeholder capitalism.
  • It calls for a new financing model for social mobility: Improving tax progressivity on personal income, policies that address wealth concentration and broadly rebalancing the sources of taxation can support the social mobility agenda.

What is social mobility?

  • Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society.

What is social mobility

  • It is a change in social status relative to one’s current social location within a given society.
  • In absolute terms, it is the ability of a child to experience a better life than their parents.
  • On the other hand, relative social mobility is an assessment of the impact of socio-economic background on an individual’s outcomes in life.
  • It can be measured against a number of outcomes ranging from health to educational achievement and income.

Is economic growth guarantee to social mobility?

  • No, the economic growth can lift entire populations upward in terms of absolute income, but an individual’s status in society relative to others remains the same.

Significance of Social Mobility

  • Social mobility levels can help to understand both
  1. the speed – that is, how long it takes for individuals at the bottom of the scale to catch up with those at the top.
  2. the intensity – how many steps it takes for an individual to move up the ladder in a given period – of social mobility.
  • The index considers what a country can do holistically to foster relative social mobility for all citizens, which is markedly different from other methodologies.
  • The Global Social Mobility Index focuses on drivers of relative social mobility instead of outcomes. It looks at policies, practices and institutions. This allows it to enable effective comparisons throughout regions and generations.
  • It uses 10 pillars, which in turn are broken down into five determinants of social mobility – health, education, technology access, work opportunities, working conditions and fair wages and finally, social protection and inclusive institutions.
[Ref: Business Standard, The Indian Express, India Today]

 

Economy

India among top 10 FDI recipients: UN Report

According to a UN report released, India was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in 2019, attracting $49 billion in inflows driving the FDI growth in South Asia.

India among top 10 FDI recipients

The Global Investment Trend Monitor report

  • It is compiled by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

India Specific highlights

  • South Asia recorded a 10 per cent increase in FDI to $60 billion and this growth was driven by India, with a 16 per cent increase in inflows to an estimated $49 billion. The majority went into services industries, including information technology.

India was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in 2019

  • India attracted an estimated 49 billion dollars of FDI in 2019, a 16 per cent increase from the 42 billion dollars recorded in 2018.

Global Scenario

  • It states that the global foreign direct investment remained flat in 2019 at $1.39 trillion, a one per cent decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in 2018. This is against the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions.

Foreign Direct Investment in 2019

  • Developing economies continue to absorb more than half of global FDI flows.
  • The FDI flows to developed countries remained at a historically low level, decreasing by a further six per cent to an estimated $643 billion.
  • The FDI to the European Union (EU) fell by 15 per cent to $305 billion, while there was zero-growth of flows to United States, which received $251 billion FDI in 2019, as compared to $254 billion in 2018.Despite this, the United States remained the largest recipient of FDI, followed by China with flows of $140 billion and Singapore with $110 billion.
  • China also saw zero-growth in FDI inflows. Its FDI inflows in 2018 were $139 billion and stood at $140 billion in 2019.
  • The FDI in the UK was down six per cent as Brexit unfolded.
  • The report added that cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) decreased by 40 per cent in 2019 to $490 billion – the lowest level since 2014. In 2019, there were 30 mega deals above $5 billion compared to 39 in 2018.
  • Looking ahead, UNCTAD expects the FDI flows to rise moderately in 2020.
  • GDP growth, gross fixed capital formation and trade are projected to rise, both at the global level and, especially, in several large emerging markets.
[Ref: The Business Line]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

China’s Birth Rate falls to its lowest in 70 Years

The birth rate of China fell to its lowest since the formation of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, recent statistics released by the Chinese government show.

The-birth-rate-in-China-has-fallen-to-the-lowest-in-70-years.

Highlights

  • The birth rate was 48 per 1,000 in 2019 – the lowest since 1949. This means close to 1,048 babies were born for every 1,00,000 people in China. The number of babies born in 2018 fell by two million to 15.23 million.
  • This number is lower than US (12), England (11.6) as well as overall global birth rate (18.65). India’s birth rate is 17.81, while that of Japan is eight.
  • China allowed urban couples to have two children in 2016, replacing a one-child policy in place since 1979, with policymakers wary of falling birth rates and a rapidly growing aging population.

The birth rate in China has fallen to the lowest in 70 years. 1

  • A government-affiliated think tank warned that the population in the world’s second-biggest economy could start to shrink as soon as 2027.

China’s one-child policy

  • As China’s Population approached one billion in the late 1970s, the government of China became concerned about its economic growth.
  • It was adopted out of the Malthusian fears that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.
  • Therefore, the One Child Policy was introduced in 1979.
  • It set a limit on the number of births parents could have.
  • It was imposed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping to reduce the birth rate.
  • The government enforced this policy by providing financial and employment incentives to those who complied, making contraceptives widely available and fining those who violated the rules.
  • At times, more coercive measures such as forced abortions and mass sterilizations were used.

Claim of government of China

  • By 2007, China claimed that only 36% of its citizens were limited to one child due to various changes to the policy over time.
  • The one-child policy is estimated by the Chinese government to have prevented about 400m births since it began

The birth rate in China has fallen to the lowest in 70 years. 2

Current status of Chinese Population

  • China’s fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world and well below the rate of 2.1 children per woman.
  • By, 2050, more than a quarter of the population will be over 65.
  • China’s ageing population will slow down the economy as the pool of young workers decreases.
  • The ratio between taxpayers and pensioners continues to drop.

Relaxation in One Child Policy

  • 1980s- rural families were allowed to have another child if their first child was a girl.
  • 2013 – couples were allowed to have a second child if one parent is an only child.
  • Ethnic minorities were not subject to the one – child policy.

What is Malthusian theory all about?

  • Thomas Robert Malthus was the first economist to propose a systematic theory of population. He articulated his views regarding population in his famous book, Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), for which he collected empirical data to support his thesis.

What is Malthusian theory all about 1

  • He argued that if left unchecked, a population will outgrow its resources, leading to a host of problems.
[Ref: The Hindu, BBC]

 

Iran to quit global nuclear treaty if case goes to UN

Iran said it could quit the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if European countries refer it to the UN Security Council over a nuclear agreement, a move that would overturn diplomacy in its confrontation with the West.

Iran has warned to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

What is the issue?

  • The 1968 NPT has been the foundation of global nuclear arms control since the Cold War.
  • Iran signed 2015 deal with world powers that offered it access to global trade in return for accepting curbs to its atomic programme.

the 2015 nuclear deal

  • Further, Britain, France and Germany declared Iran in violation of the 2015 pact and have launched a dispute mechanism that could eventually see the matter referred back to the Security Council and the reimposition of UN sanctions.
  • In response to the dispute mechanism launched against itself, Iran has threatened to quit the NPT.
  • Iran has faced mounting pressure from European states which wants to save the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran and US tussle

  • The nuclear dispute has been at the heart of an escalation between Washington and Tehran which blew up into military confrontation in recent weeks.
  • The fate of the 2015 pact has been in doubt since US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it and reimposed sanctions.
  • Iran has responded by scaling back its commitments, although it says it wants the pact to survive.
  • A steady escalation over Iran’s nuclear plans flared into tit-for-tat military action, with US President ordering a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, prompting Iran to fire missiles at US targets in Iraq.
  • During a state of alert, Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner in error.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • NPT is a multilateral treaty aimed at limiting the spread of nuclear weapons including three elements: (1) non-proliferation, (2) disarmament, and (3) peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) 2020

  • The Treaty defines nuclear weapon states (NWS) as those that had manufactured and detonated a nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967.
  • It has 191-member.
  • NPT bans signatories other than the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France from acquiring nuclear weapons, in return for allowing them to pursue peaceful nuclear programmes for power generation, overseen by the United Nations.
  • The only country ever to declare its withdrawal from the NPT was North Korea, which expelled nuclear inspectors and openly tested atomic weapons.
  • Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, and Israel, which does not say whether it has nuclear weapons but is widely presumed to, never signed up NPT.

Role of states:

  • Nuclear weapon states are not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons and not to assist, encourage, or induce any NNWS to manufacture or otherwise acquire them.

non-nuclear-weapon-states-(NNWS).

  • Non-nuclear weapons states are not to receive nuclear weapons from any transferor, and are not to manufacture or acquire them.
  • NNWS must accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear materials on their territories or under their control.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

UAE has been declared ‘reciprocating territory’ by India

The Ministry of Law and Justice issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification, declaring the United Arab Emirates to be a “reciprocating territory” under Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

reciprocating-territory

  • The notification also declared a list of courts in the UAE to be “superior Courts” under the same section.

The ‘reciprocating territory’

  • ‘Reciprocating territory’ means any country or territory outside India which the Central Government may declare to be a reciprocating territory.
  • In line with the above law, the Central Government has notified that it recognises UAE as a reciprocating territory for the purposes of enforcing foreign civil decrees in India
  • This means that decrees passed by courts in the UAE (reciprocating territory) can now be executed in India, as if they were passed by Indian civil courts.
  • The mechanism for conferring such a status to foreign civil decrees has been outlined in Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).

What are superior courts?

  • The courts designated for passing such orders which are executed in India are known as ‘superior courts’.

what are superior courts

Which UAE courts are now “superior Courts”?

According to the Gazette notification, the following UAE courts have been identified–

the Ministry of Law and Justice issued an Extraordinary Gazette Notification, declaring the United Arab Emirates to be a “reciprocating territory” under Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

  1. Federal Court-
    (a) Federal Supreme Court;
    (b) Federal, First Instance and Appeals Courts in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah;
  2. Local Courts-
    (a) Abu Dhabi Judicial Department;
    (b) Dubai Courts;
    (c) Ras- Al- Khaimah Judicial Department;
    (d) Courts of Abu Dhabi Global Markets;
    (e) Courts of Dubai International Financial Center.

Section 44 A of CPC

  • It deals with execution of decrees passed by Courts in reciprocating territory.
  • It says that “Reciprocating territory” means any country or territory outside India which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a reciprocating territory for the purposes of this section; and superior Courts, with reference to any such territory, means such Courts as may be specified in the said notification.
  • “Decree” with reference to a superior Court means any decree or judgment of such Court under which a sum of money is payable, not being a sum payable in respect of taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty, but shall in no case include an arbitration award, even if such an award is enforceable as a decree or judgment.

Limitations:

  • The scope of the Section is restricted to decrees for payment of money, not being sums payable “in respect of taxes or other charges of a like nature or in respect of a fine or other penalty”.
  • It also cannot be based on an arbitration award, even if such an award is enforceable as a decree or judgment.

Significance of the decision

  • It will help in bringing down the time required for executing decrees between the two countries.
  • Indian expatriates in the UAE would no longer be able to seek safe haven in their home country if they are convicted in a civil case in the UAE.
[Ref: The Indian Express]

 

Science & Technology

An embryo of Northern White Rhino has been created

Recently, researchers said that they had created another embryo — the third — of the nearly extinct northern white rhino. It is a remarkable success in an ongoing global mission to keep the species from going extinct.

An embryo of Northern White Rhino has been created

What is the issue?

  • The death of Northern White Rhino named Sudan in the Czech Republic, left the world with only two northern white rhinos, Najin, 30, and Fatu, 19 — both female.
  • In July 2018, scientists reported a major breakthrough — IVF for rhinos.
  • They created a test-tube embryo by fertilising the egg of a southern white female with the frozen sperm of a northern white male.
  • Immediately, there was hope for the northern white subspecies — if eggs from Najin and Fatu could be fertilised by the available frozen sperm from four (now dead) northern white males.
  • The embryos have been preserved in liquid nitrogen, and will be transferred to a southern white surrogate.
  • Since the gestation period for a rhino could be 18 months, the first northern white calf is expected to arrive in the world in 2022.

Types of Rhinos and their current population

  • Northern White Rhinos – It is one of the two subspecies of the white (or square-lipped) rhinocerous, which once roamed several African countries south of the Sahara.

TYPES OF RHINOS

  • Southern White Rhino – It is the most numerous subspecies of rhino, and is found primarily in South Africa.
  • Black (or hook – lipped) Rhinocerous – It is found in Africa, which too, is fighting for survival, and at least three of whose subspecies are already extinct.
  • The Indian rhinocerous is different from its African cousins, most prominently in that it has only one horn. It has been listed in CITES Appendix I since 1975 and the IUCN conservation status is Vulnerable.
  • There is also a Javan rhino, which too, has one horn, and a Sumatran rhino which, like the African rhinos, has two horns.

White Rhinocerous

  • The white rhinocerosor square-lipped rhinoceros is the largest extant species of rhinoceros.
  • It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species.
  • The white rhinoceros consists of two subspecies: the southern and northern white rhinos. They are found in two different regions of Africa.
  • The conservation status of Northern White Rhino is ‘near extinction’ as only two female rhinos are living in Kenya.
  • The conservation status of Southern White Rhino is ‘near threatened’ under IUCN list. The majority (98.8%) of the southern white rhinos occur in just four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. 

What is In- vitro fertilisation (IVF)?

  • In vitro fertilisation is a process of fertilisation where an ‘donor egg’ is combined with spermoutside the body, in vitro (in glass).

WHAT IS IN- VITRO FERTILISATION (IVF)

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and effective type of Assisted reproductive technology (ART)which is used to treat infertility.
  • The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory.
  • The fertilized egg undergoes embryo culture for 2–6 days, and is then transferred to the same or another woman’s uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
[Ref: The Indian Express, WWF]
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