Current Affairs Analysis

5th May 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Online Summit of NAM Contact Group; The Saras Collection on GeM portal; GeM portal; DAY-NRLM; Jharkhand launches schemes for job creation; Birsa Harit Gram Yojana (BHGY), Neelambar Pitambar JAL Sammridhi Yojana (NPJSY) and Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme; Antibodies from llamas; Llamas; Kendu leaf procurement hits roadblock in Odisha; Kendu leaf; BharatMarket: National e-commerce marketplace; Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT); Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment (BoBBLE); Non-Aligned Movement (NAM); Cinco de Mayo; Corona-Killer 100; UV Blaster; World Press Freedom Day 2020; World Press Freedom Conference 2020; ATULYA
By IASToppers
May 05, 2020

Contents

Government Schemes and Policies

  • The Saras Collection on GeM portal
  • Jharkhand launches schemes for job creation

Issues related to Health and Education

  • Antibodies from llamas

Economy

  • Kendu leaf procurement hits roadblock in Odisha
  • BharatMarket: National e-commerce marketplace

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Online Summit of NAM Contact Group

Also in News

  • Cinco de Mayo

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Corona-Killer 100
  • UV Blaster
  • World Press Freedom Day 2020
  • World Press Freedom Conference 2020
  • ATULYA

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Government Schemes and Policies

The Saras Collection on GeM portal

The Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj launched “The Saras Collection” on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal recently.

Aim:

  • To showcase daily utility products made by rural self-help groups (SHGs).
  • To provide SHGs in rural areas with market access to Central and State Government buyers.

Key features:

  • It is a unique initiative of GeM and DAY-NRLM (Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission) Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Under this initiative, the SHG sellers will be able to list their products in 5 product categories, namely (i) handicrafts, (ii) handloom and textiles, (iii) office accessories, (iv) grocery and pantry, and (v) personal care and hygiene.
  • In order to develop a scalable model capable of onboarding a large number of SHGs across the country GeM has developed an API based integration mechanism with the NRLM database.
  • GeM will provide dashboards for functionaries at the national, state, district and block level to provide them real time information about the number of products uploaded by SHGs, and value and volume of orders received and fulfilled.
  • In addition, Government buyers shall be sensitized through system generated messages/ alerts in the Marketplace about availability of SHG products on the portal.
  • Potential buyers shall be able to search, view, cart and procure such products through the stipulated modes of procurement.
  • GeM shall also collaborate with State functionaries to address the capacity building and training needs of SHGs, and build up their competencies required for order packaging, catalogue management and logistics.

Significance:

  • By providing SHGs with direct access to Government buyers, the Saras Collection will do away with intermediaries in the supply chain, thus ensuring better prices for SHGs and spurring employment opportunities at the local level.

DAY-NRLM:

  • DAY-NLRM aims to reduce poverty through promotion of diversified and gainful self-employment while creating skilled wage employment opportunities.
  • The scheme supports building social capital and ensuring financial linkages to alleviate poverty and enhance the quality of the life of rural poor women.
  • It has ambitious plans on financial inclusion like digital finance, creating value chains around rural products and improving market access, rural enterprise and strengthening community institutions.

Government e-Marketplace:

  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a 100 percent Government owned Section 8 Company set up as the National Public Procurement Portal for procurement of goods and services required by Central and State Government organizations.
  • GeM provides an online, end to end solution for procurement of goods and services for all Central Government and State Government Ministries, Departments, Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), local bodies and autonomous organisations.
  • The platform reduces human interventions in procurement and enables transparency, cost savings, inclusiveness and efficiency of faceless standardized public procurement.
[Ref: PIB]

Jharkhand launches schemes for job creation

The Jharkhand government has recently launched three labour intensive programmes to restore the rural economy.

Rationale:

  • The schemes have been launched seeing the possibility of a steep rise in the rate of unemployment in villages due to the arrival of large-scale stranded migrant workers from other States.

Highlights:

  • The three schemes have been devised in convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).
  • The schemes are— Birsa Harit Gram Yojana (BHGY), Neelambar Pitambar JAL Sammridhi Yojana (NPJSY) and Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme (VSPHKVS) — to create wage employment for workers in rural areas.

Birsa Harit Gram Yojana:

  • The BHGY is envisaged at bringing over two lakh acres of unused government fallow land under the afforestation programme.
  • About five lakh families will be provided 100 fruit-bearing plants.
  • The initial plantation, maintenance, land work and afforestation will be taken up through MGNREGA.
  • Each family is estimated to receive an annual income of ₹50,000 from fruit harvest after three years while the ownership of land will remain with the government.

Neelambar Pitambar JAL Sammridhi Yojana:

  • As per NPJSY, the government aims at creating agro-water storage units by arresting rainwater and runaway groundwater.
  • Nearly 5 lakh acre of cultivable land can be irrigated through the initiative.
  • An estimated 10 crore person days will be generated through the scheme in the next 4-5 years.

Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme:

  • Under VSPHKVS, as many as 5,000 sports grounds will be developed across the State.
  • The government hopes to generate one crore person days through the scheme in the current financial year.

Concern:

  • According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CIME) data, the State is reeling under severe joblessness with unemployment rate pegged at 47.1% — double that of the national average (23.5%).
  • The arrival of an estimated 5 lakh to 6 lakh migrant workers is likely to worsen the situation.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Issues related to Health and Education

Antibodies from llamas

A group of researchers from University of Texas have found an antibody in llamas that could be a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Details:

  • The researchers linked two copies of a special kind of antibody produced by llamas and created a new antibody, which binds tightly to a key protein on the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2.
  • This protein is the spike protein, shaped like a corona (crown) that gives coronaviruses their name.
  • It is also the protein that allows the virus to break into human and animal cells.
  • Initial tests with the new antibody and cultured cells indicated the antibody blocks viruses with this spike protein from infecting cells.
  • The paper is undergoing final proofreading.

Llamas:

  • Llamas is a mammal of the camel family found in South America.
  • It is used as a domestic beast of burden and a source of wool and meat.
  • IUCN status: Least concern
[Ref: Indian Express]

Economy

Kendu leaf procurement hits roadblock in Odisha

The residents of Odisha’s Kalahandi district have hit a roadblock in procuring kendu leaves through gram sabhas amid COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the issue?

  • Kendu leaf collection from forest is a major source of  livelihood for tribal villagers in the state.
  • Kendu is one of the most prominent minor forest produce (MFP) in the state.
  • The inordinate delay in procurement of the leaves from tribals by government agencies, has left them in despair.

Kendu leaf:

  • Kendu leaf is a nationalized product and called green gold of Odisha.
  • Tendu leaf is one of the most important non-wood forest products of Odisha.
  • The leaves are used for wrapping Bidis, a popular smoke especially among poor natives.
  • The states producing kendu leaf in India comprises mainly MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, AP, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer of kendu leaf followed by Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • Average selling price of Kendu Leaf varies between Rs 30 to Rs 80 per kgs depending on grades.
[Ref: Down to Earth]

BharatMarket: National e-commerce marketplace

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has announced to launch a national e-commerce marketplace ‘BharatMarket’ soon for all retail traders.

Major Highlights:

  • As per CAIT the marketplace will integrate capabilities of various technology companies to provide end-to-end services in the logistics and supply chains from manufacturers to end consumers, including deliveries at home.
  • The e-commerce portal will include a nationwide participation by retailers and aims to bring 95 per cent of retail traders onboard the platform, who would exclusively run the portal.
  • The initiative has had active support and guidance of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and is an effective way to get essential commodities to consumers during the lockdown period and within containment zones.
  • The traders body is looking to enrol about one crore retailers on this e-marketplace in 2020 and make it the world’s largest and most-unique e-marketplace ever.

Confederation of All India Traders:

  • CAIT is an Apex Body of Trading Community of India at National Level comprising prominent Trade Bodies of different States.
  • CAIT came into existence in 1990 with an aim and objective of the development of trade and traders in the country and has brilliantly evolved the understanding and co-ordination amongst traders throughout the Country.
  • CAIT is the representative body of more than 6 crore business establishments operating their activities in the unorganized sector of the Country which is rather self organised and providing livelihood to more than 25 crore people of India.
[Ref: AIR]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment

A team from IISc Bengaluru and UK based University of East Anglia have created a blueprint for accurate prediction of monsoon, tropical cyclones and other weather-related forecasts under the Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment.

BoBBLE:

  • BoBBLE is a joint India-UK project which seeks to examine the impact of ocean processes in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) on the monsoon system.
  • The project is funded by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Natural Environment Research Council of UK.

Key Features:

  • BoBBLE tries to determine, quantify and model ocean-atmosphere interactions that drive variability in the South Asian monsoon.
  • It created a blueprint for future weather system observational experiments for accurately forecasting monsoon rainfall.
  • BoBBLE will deploy two ships, six ocean gliders and eight floats to collect an unprecedented range of oceanic and air-sea flux observations.
  • These will occupy locations in the southwest and southeast Bay of Bengal, as well as trace east-west and north-south paths between those locations, measure ocean temperature, salinity and currents.

Significance:

  • The Bay of Bengal plays a fundamental role in controlling the weather systems that make up the South Asian summer monsoon system.
  • The southern BoB has cooler sea surface temperatures (SST) that influence ocean-atmosphere interaction and impact the monsoon.
  • The southwestern BoB is cooler, more saline receives much less rain, and is influenced by the summer monsoon current (SMC) as compared to the southeastern BoB.
  • The BoB Boundary Layer Experiment (BoBBLE) was undertaken to examine the impact of these features on the monsoon.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Bilateral & International Relations

Online Summit of NAM Contact Group

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently participated in the online Summit of Non Aligned Movement Contact Group to discuss response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Theme: United against COVID-19

Objective:

  • To promote international solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To mobilise efforts of States and international organisations to address the pandemic.

Major Highlights:

  • The online summit was hosted by the current Chairman of NAM, President of Republic of Azerbaijan HE Ilham Aliyev.
  • PM Modi was joined by over 30 other Heads of State and Government and other leaders, including from member States in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe.
  • PM’s participation indicates India’s longstanding commitment to the principles and values of NAM as one of its leading founding-member.
  • PM emphasized the importance of a coordinated, inclusive and equitable response by the world to this crisis, outlining the steps India had taken domestically and internationally.
  • PM also emphasized the importance of a continued effort by the world against other viruses, in particular terrorism and fake news.

Outcome:

  • NAM Leaders assessed the impact of COVID-19, identified needs and requirements for possible remedies and urged action-oriented follow-up measures.
  • Following the Summit, leaders adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Leaders also announced the creation of a ‘Task Force’ to identify needs and requirements of member States.
  • This is to be done through the establishment of a common database reflecting their basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against COVID-19.

Non Aligned Movement:

  • The NAM was established in 1961 to unite developing states that are not part of any collective defence pacts in interest of any major power.
  • It is the second largest international organization after the United Nations with 120 member states.
  • It seeked not to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union but sought to remain independent or neutral.
  • It was founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War.
  • NAM does not have a formal constitution or permanent secretariat and its administration is non-hierarchical and rotational.

Background:

  • The basic concept for the group originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference held in Indonesia.
  • ‘Ten Principles of Bandung’ were proclaimed at that Conference which were adopted later as the main goals and objectives of the policy of non-alignment.
  • The movement of Non-Aligned Countries was founded on a wider geographical basis at the First Summit Conference of Belgrade, Yugoslavia which was held in 1961.

Relevance for India:

  • The only use NAM had for India was during the 1970s and 1980s where NAM served as a forum to channel India’s dissatisfaction with the international order.
  • It was through NAM that India articulated the call for a new international economic order that would cater for the special needs of the developing countries.
  • India articulated the call for a new world information and communication order to provide a greater voice for developing countries in global communications.
  • It served as a forum for India to articulate its views on global nuclear disarmament and the discriminatory nature of the global nuclear order at the centre of which stood the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
[Ref: PIB]

Also in News

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo or Battle of Puebla Day is an annual celebration observed in Mexico and the US to mark Mexico’s military victory over French forces in 1862.

The Battle of Puebla:

  • In late 1861, a French fleet under Emperor Napoleon III attacked the Mexican port of Veracruz on the country’s eastern coast.
  • The French encountered stiff resistance from Mexican forces.
  • At Puebla, over 100 km ahead of Mexico City, a poorly equipped and outnumbered Mexican force decisively defeated the advancing French troops on May 5, 1862, killing over a thousand.
  • The event marked a significant political victory of Mexican republicans and President Benito Juárez, and helped establish a sense of national unity in the country.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Key Facts for Prelims

Corona-Killer 100

  • Corona-Killer 100  is a sanitization drone which is currently being used in 26 cities.
  • It consists of patented autopilot technology, advanced flight controller system & is equipped with fuel efficient motors that enables the drone to be deployed for 12 hours a day.
  • The features include: Payload capacity of 15-20 litres, flight duration of 40-45 minutes & maximum ceiling height of 450 feet which is sufficient to disinfect tall buildings across India.
  • Each drone can cover 20 km a day and has been manufactured by Garuda Aerospace.
  • Garuda Aerospace’s present fleet of 300 Corona Killer-100 drones can conduct sanitization operations covering 6,000 km every single day.

UV Blaster

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an ultra violet (UV) disinfection tower for rapid and chemical-free disinfection of high infection-prone areas.
  • The equipment is named UV Blaster.
  • It was designed and developed by Laser Science & Technology Centre (LASTEC) based in Delhi with the help of New Age Instruments and Materials Private Limited, Gurugram.
  • It is useful for high tech surfaces like electronic equipment and other gadgets in laboratories and offices that are not suitable for disinfection with chemical methods.
  • The product is also effective for areas with large movement of people such as airports, shopping malls etc.

 World Press Freedom Day 2020

  • World Press Freedom Day (May 3) is organised by the United Nations annually.
  • The day is celebrated to raise awareness regarding the importance of freedom of the press. 
  • The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2020: “Journalism without Fear or Favour”.
  • The day May 3 also marks the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration – a statement of press freedom principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.
  • It was a landmark document which set the stage for the development of the African media.

ATULYA

  • It is a microwave steriliser to disintegrate coronavirus.
  • It is developed by Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), Pune.
  • It can be operated in portable or fixed installations and helps in disintegrating the virus by differential heating in the range of 56 to 60 Celsius temperatures.

World Press Freedom Conference 2020

  • The World Press Freedom Conference has been organized annually since 1993.
  • The conference will be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day (May 3) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (November 2).
  • The Netherlands is the host for 2020

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