Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 April 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 12 April 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

G20 Ministers in-charge of digital economy issue declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’

 

G20 Ministers responsible for the digital economy met in Dusseldorf, Germany recently for a ministerial conference.

  • They have issued a declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’, laying out priorities and a roadmap for policies.

g20 hangzhou

Highlights of the declaration:

  • The declaration talks about the need for greater availability of affordable broadband connectivity, improved digital skills, and literacy, greater digital entrepreneurship and broader adoption of digital technologies and services for the digital economy to contribute to achieving the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Another core theme is support for MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) which might be constrained by their scale in adoption of digital technologies. MSMEs benefitting from the digital revolution is crucial for inclusive growth.
  • The declaration includes three annex papers on ‘A Roadmap for Digitalisation: Policies for a Digital Future’, ‘Digital skills in vocational education and training’ and ‘G20 Priorities on Digital Trade’. Collaboration between the countries and with all stakeholders, including academia and private sector and sharing of best practices forms a key part of all three papers.

 

Background:

In 2016, in Hangzhou, G20 leaders proposed to ‘collectively leverage the opportunities and address challenges of an increasingly digital world, in order to enable a thriving and dynamic digital economy that drives inclusive global growth and benefits all. Accordingly, a G20 Task Force on the digital economy was established in Hangzhou.

 

G20:

The G20 (or G-20 or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies. It was founded in 1999 with the aim of studying, reviewing, and promoting high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.

The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. 

 

HIV/AIDS Bill passed in Parliament

 

The Lok Sabha has passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017, which will strengthen the rights of the people infected with the disease. Rajya Sabha has already passed the Bill.

HIV

Key provisions in the bill:

Provisions related to the role of governments: Under the Bill, central and state governments are obliged to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and management of opportunistic infections (infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system and occur frequently). The bill also prohibits specific acts of discrimination by the state, or any other person, against HIV-positive people, or those living with such people.

Provisions related to discrimination: The Bill lays down penal provisions for any discrimination practised against a person with HIV/AIDS and breach of confidentiality. The protection mandated in the Bill extends to the fields of employment, healthcare services, educational services, public facilities, property rights, holding public office, and insurance. It also provides for confidentiality of HIV-related information and makes it necessary to get informed consent for undertaking HIV tests, medical treatment and research.

Provisions related to ombudsman: The bill also provides for an ombudsman. According to the provisions of the Bill, an ombudsman shall be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services. The ombudsman shall submit a report to the state government every six months stating the number and nature of complaints received, the actions taken.

Provisions related to guardianship: Provisions related to guardianship are also specified. A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age. The guardianship will apply in matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others.

Role of courts: Cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed off by the court on a priority basis. In any legal proceeding, if an HIV infected or affected person is a party, the court may pass orders that the proceedings be conducted (a) by suppressing the identity of the person, (b) in camera, and (c) to restrain any person from publishing information that discloses the identity of the applicant. When passing any order with regard to a maintenance application filed by an HIV infected or affected person, the court shall take into account the medical expenses incurred by the applicant.

 

Background:

There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India and the percentage of patients receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) treatment currently stands at a mere 25.82% as against the global percentage of 41%, according to the 2015 Global Burden of Diseases (GBD).

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Malala receives highest UN honour to promote girls education

 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai as a UN Messenger of Peace to promote girls education.

  • At 19, Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honor given by the United Nations for an initial period of two years.

malala

About UN Messenger of Peace:

United Nations Messengers of Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, science, entertainment, sports or other fields of public life, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations.

These prominent personalities volunteer their time, talent and passion to raise awareness of United Nations efforts to improve the lives of billions of people everywhere.

Appointment: The United Nations Secretary-General appoints Messengers of Peace.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

G7 ministers seek united front on Russia and Syria’s Assad

 

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) major industrialised nations met recently in Italy, looking to put pressure on Russia to break its ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

  • The G7 also lent support to the U.S. for its attack on the Syrian government-controlled Shayrat airfield in Homs province.
  • While the G7 united to isolate Mr. Assad diplomatically and urged Russia to do the same, no agreement was reached on sanctions against Russia for supporting the Syrian regime.

G7

Background:

A chemical attack took place in Syria recently. The U.S. and its allies hold Syrian President Bhashar al-Assad responsible for the attacks.

 

About G7:

The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union is also represented within the G7.

  • These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund: the G7 countries represent more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion).
  • A very high net national wealth and a very high Human Development Index are the main requirements to be a member of this group.
  • The G7 countries also represent 46% of the global GDP evaluated at market exchange rates and 32% of the global purchasing power parity GDP.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Belle-II ‘rolls in’ to collision point

 

The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) has completed the much-awaited ‘rolling-in’ of the Belle-II experiment in Tsukuba, Japan.

About the experiment:

Belle II is an upgraded detector to allow the experiment to record the enormous numbers of particle processes that are produced by the SuperKEKB accelerator.

  • This experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model and dark matter.
  • The Belle II experiment will accumulate 50 times more data than the previous experiment, Belle, and pursue violations of the symmetry between particles and anti-particles as well as new laws of physics. It is a grand collaboration of 700 scientists from 23 countries.
  • Complementary to the direct search experiments being carried out at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, Belle-II will indirectly probe new physics using intense electron-positron beams and a sensitive detector.

 

Contributions from India:

Belle-II has a significant Indian participation both on experimental and theoretical sides.

  • The fourth layer of the six-layer, highly sensitive particle detector, which is at the heart of Belle-II, has been built by Indian scientists.
  • Scientists from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Guwahati and Hyderabad; the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai; Punjab University; Punjab Agricultural University; MNIT (Malaviya National Institute of Technology), Jaipur; IISER (Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research) Mohali; and TIFR, Mumbai, are participating in this research.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

 

GST Network to encrypt companies’ data to check leaks

 

Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), the company that will pore through millions of invoices daily to ensure that the tax applied on transactions is limited to the value added at that stage, will encrypt the data submitted by businesses and have firewalls to prevent leaks.

  • Only two people will have access to data—the taxpayer himself and his assessing officer. The same data will be stored at four different locations to safeguard it.

gstn

GSTN:

GSTN is a private, not-for profit company in which the central government and states and Union territories together hold 49%. The rest is owned by financial institutions.

  • The company will provide information technology support to all stakeholders for smooth implementation of the new taxation regime across the country and will be the repository of all information related to taxation and entities registered under GST.
  • GSTN will mobilize working capital by levying a user fee on state governments for its services.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

West Bengal’s Haldia port cleanest in India: Ministry:

  • The Haldia port of West Bengal has emerged as the cleanest in a first-ever ranking of all major Indian ports on sanitation parameters. Vizag port came second.
  • The ranking of all 13 Indian ports was conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) during the ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’.
  • The ranking was based on the efforts made by these ports to address waste generating sources with respect to port operation, office area, township area and the response to incoming ships.

 

URJA MITRA:

  • URJA MITRA App, which was launched recently by the Ministry of Power, empowers citizens by real time information sharing on power supply.
  • The app is a first of its kind application which provides a central platform, Web-Portal as well as Mobile App, for State Power Distribution utilities to disseminate power outage information to urban/rural power consumers across India through SMS/email/push notifications.