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Insights Daily Current Events, 22 July 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 22 July 2015

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New Development Bank of BRICS opens in Shanghai

The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping has formally opened the New Development Bank (NDB) as a dedicated channel of alternate finance, which will focus on emerging economies and the Global South.

  • The BRICS countries have stressed that the NDB would not rival but complement the western backed International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, born out of the Bretton Woods Conference of the forties.
  • However, the emergence of the NDB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) — a China-led initiative to fund infrastructure in Asia — was hastened by the reluctance by the West, especially the United States, since 2010, to grant emerging economies a greater say within the IMF.
  • NDB’s first President is Kundapur Vaman Kamath.

The New Development Bank:

It is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It is seens as an alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

  • The New Development Bank was agreed to by BRICS leaders at the 5th BRICS summit held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.
  • The bank is set up to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.
  • The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, China.
  • Unlike the World Bank, which assigns votes based on capital share, in the New Development Bank each participant country will be assigned one vote, and none of the countries will have veto power.

What it does?

The New Development Bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

Benefits:

  • The establishment of the Bank will help India and other signatory countries to raise and avail resources for their infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
  • It would also reflect the close relations among BRICS countries, while providing a powerful instrument for increasing their economic cooperation.
  • It is expected to allow India to raise and obtain more resources for the much needed infrastructure development, the lack of which is coming in the way of inclusiveness and growth as of now.
  • It will make available additional resources thereby recycling the savings accumulated in emerging countries which are presently being locked up in Treasury bonds having much lower returns.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, NDB, BRICS.

Santana, Klein win American Book Awards

Carlos Santana, Marlon James and Naomi Klein are among the winners of the 36th annual American Book Awards, which celebrate diversity in publishing.

  • James won the award for his 700-page novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings , based in part on the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.
  • Klein won for the environmental work This Changes Everything — Capitalism vs. The Climate .

American Book Awards:

The American Book Award is an American literary award that annually recognizes a set of books and people for “outstanding literary achievement”.

  • The awards are presented by the Before Columbus Foundation, a non-profit educational and service organisation founded in 1976 by author-playwright Ishmael Reed.
  • The Award honors excellence in American literature without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan

Surakshit Khadya Abhiyan, a countrywide campaign was launched recently. It was launched to create mass awareness and capacity building for safe and hygienic food.

Details:

  • The initiative complements the widely popular multi-media campaign “Jago Grahak Jago” which empowers the consumers of its rights and demands.
  • This initiative is also an effort towards building a culture of food safety in the country.
  • Under the campaign, nationwide sensitisation sessions on cleaning, hygiene & sanitation for safe food, Walkathons and Media dissemination programmes for Consumers, Street Food Industries will be organized across the country.

Sources: PIB.

Mission Indradhanush: Creating Awareness on Immunisation

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare recently said that Mission Indradhanush was launched to cover all partially vaccinated and un-vaccinated children in the country and 201 high priority districts which account for nearly 50% of such children in the country have been selected in the first phase. The first round started from 7th April 2015.

Mission Indradhanush:

Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Health & Family Welfare Ministry. The Mission was launched on Good Governance Day to mark the birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Madan Mohan Malaviya and birthday of Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Aim:

The Mission Indradhanush, depicting seven colours of the rainbow, aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against seven vaccine preventable diseases which include diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.

Details:

  • The Mission will be implemented in 201 high focus districts in the country in the first phase which have nearly 50% of all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children (Of the 201 districts, 82 districts are in just four states of UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and nearly 25% of the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children of India are in these 82 districts of 4 states).
  • These districts will be targeted by intensive efforts to improve the routine immunization coverage.
  • The campaign is part of the Universal Immunisation Programme by 2020 and is being implemented under the National Health Mission across the country.
  • Between 2009-2013 immunization coverage has increased from 61% to 65%, indicating only 1% increase in coverage every year. To accelerate the process of immunization by covering 5% and more children every year, the Mission Mode has been adopted to achieve target of full coverage by 2020.
  • The focused and systematic immunization drive will be through a “catch-up” campaign mode where the aim is to cover all the children who have been left out or missed out for immunization.
  • Under Mission Indradhanush, four special vaccination campaigns will be conducted between January and June 2015 with intensive planning and monitoring of these campaigns.
  • The learnings from the successful implementation of the polio programme will be applied in planning and implementation of the mission.
  • The Ministry will be technically supported by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and other donor partners. Mass media, interpersonal communication, and sturdy mechanisms of monitoring and evaluating the scheme are crucial components of Mission Indradhanush.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.

Scrapping Aadhaar will hurt welfare schemes

The Centre recently told the Supreme Court that it had spent Rs. 5000 crore of public money on the Aadhaar scheme and accessed 80 crore people. And hence, it is difficult to scrap Aadhaar now.

  • The Centre said that any move to scrap the scheme now would create a severe dent in several government welfare schemes, subsidies and services for which the Aadhaar card has become an essential document.

Background:

  • In March this year, the Supreme Court had confirmed that the Aadhaar card was not compulsory, and further, officials who insist on it would be taken to task.
  • In the 2013 order, the Supreme Court had directed that “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card, in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory.”

About AADHAAR:

Aadhaar is a 12 digit individual identification number which will serve as a proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.

How the scheme is helpful:

  • Aadhaar-platform is aimed at providing social security benefits / subsidies based on eligibility through direct benefit transfer.
  • It provides access and options to rural and poor people.
  • It helps bring transparency and eliminate corruption, leakage and inefficiency.
  • It was conceived as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country and would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services.
  • It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.

Who assigns the number?

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) assigns Unique Identification Number “Aadhaar” to residents of India on voluntary basis.

Issues:

  • Aadhaar lacks legal or statutory authority as of now.
  • The AADHAAR number is not recognized as a legal proof of residence due to issues with the data protection.
  • India’s Intelligence Bureau claims anyone with an Aadhaar number can introduce others without any documentation to get the identity number, which makes it vulnerable to terrorism and other issues.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, UIDAI.

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