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Insights Daily Current Events, 02 December 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 02 December 2015

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Gujarat’s controversial Labour Laws Bill gets Presidential assent

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to the contentious Labour Laws Bill of Gujarat.

  • The bill was passed by the Gujarat Assembly in February this year. The Gujarat government passed the Bill to “relax labour laws to give an impetus to industrialization in the State.”
  • However, opposition parties in the state had termed this bill as anti-labour and pro-private industries.

About the bill:

  • Among contentious clauses, the time limit for workers to raise objections to the decisions of the industries was reduced to one year from three years.
  • The Bill has provisions to ban strikes in public utility services for up to one year.
  • The most controversial amendment was over settlement of disputes between workers and the management “out of court” by compounding a certain amount of money in the government agency.
  • The bill also sought to change certain basic definitions in the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and clauses in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which allow more policing of the state over industries.
  • According to the bill, in accidental cases, the government will become pleader in case the victim has not moved the Labour Commission within 90 days, and mediate an out-of-court settlement with maximum compensation of Rs 21,000, of which 25% will go to the government.
  • The bill also allows employers to change the nature of job of the employees without prior notice.

sources: the hindu.

 

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

IMF gives China’s currency prized reserve asset status

The International Monetary Fund has admitted China’s yuan into its benchmark currency basket.

  • The decision to add the yuan, also known as the renminbi, to the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket alongside the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen, is an important milestone in China’s integration into global finances and a nod to the progress it has made with reforms.
  • This is also seen as a victory for Beijing’s campaign for recognition as a global economic power.
  • To meet the IMF’s criteria, Beijing has undertaken a flurry of reforms in recent months, including better access for foreigners to Chinese currency markets, more frequent debt issuance and expanded yuan trading hours.

Implications:

  • The new SDR formula gives more weightage to financial variables and less to exports, reflecting long-standing criticism of the methodology but also cutting the euro’s share to 30.93%, from 37.4%.
  • The yuan will have a 10.92% share.
  • The weightage of sterling and yen will drop to 8.09% and 8.33% respectively. The dollar remains broadly unchanged at 41.73%.
  • The addition is likely to fuel demand for China’s currency and for renminbi-denominated assets as central banks and foreign fund managers adjust their portfolios to reflect the yuan’s new status.

About SDR:

  • IMF created the SDR in 1969 to boost global liquidity as the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates unraveled.
  • SDR is not technically a currency. It gives IMF member countries the right to obtain any of the currencies in the basket to meet balance-of-payments needs.
  • In addition to its role as a supplementary reserve asset, the SDR serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations.

Review: of the basket:

The basket composition is reviewed every five years by the Executive Board of the IMF, or earlier if the IMF finds changed circumstances warrant an earlier review, to ensure that it reflects the relative importance of currencies in the world’s trading and financial systems.

sources: the hindu.

 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

India Ranked 131 on Global Index of Information Technology Access: Report

India has been ranked a low 131 out of 167 nations on a global index that measures the level of information and communication technology access. India’s rank has dropped six notches from the IDI rank in 2010.

  • This was revealed in the Information Society Report released by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Highlights of the report:

  • Globally 3.2 billion people are now online, representing 43.4% of the world’s population.
  • Mobile-cellular subscriptions have reached almost 7.1 billion worldwide, with over 95% of the global population now covered by a mobile-cellular signal.
  • The Asia-Pacific is the most diverse region in terms of ICT development, reflecting stark differences in levels of economic development.
  • Six economies in the region including the South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, have IDI rankings in the top twenty of the global distribution. However, the region also includes ten of the Index’s least connected countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
  • South Korea is ranked at the top of IDI. South Korea is closely followed by Denmark and Iceland, in second and third place.
  • The IDI top 30 ranking includes countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.
  • 167 economies included in the ITU’s information and communication technology (ICT) Development Index (IDI) improved their IDI values between 2010 and 2015 – meaning that levels of ICT access, use and skills continue to improve all around the world.

India’s position:

  • India’s mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants were 74.48 in 2014 growing from 62.4 in 2010.
  • The percentage of households with computer in India was 13% in 2014, more than doubling from 6.1% in 2010, while the percentage of households with Internet access was 15.33, growing three-fold from 4.2 in 2010.
  • The percentage of individuals using the Internet has also grown to 18% in 2014 from 7.5% in 2010 in the country.

sources: et.

 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to education.

India launches initiative to boost higher education

The union government has launched the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) scheme to boost the quality of the country’s higher education through international collaboration.

Details:

  • This programme aims at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs to engage with the institutes of higher education in India to augment the countrys existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reforms, and further strengthen Indias scientific and technological capabilities.
  • This scheme will bring world class educators from across the globe to teach in India.
  • The Union Ministry of Human Resources has allocated Rs 35 crore for GIAN for the current financial year.
  • Under the scheme, 500 international faculties will be engaged this year and 1000 in subsequent years to offer short-term courses and programs throughout India. These academicians will cover 13 disciplines and 352 courses to be taught in 68 national institutions.
  • The courses vary in duration from one to three weeks, depending on the subject and are free for students of the host institution and available for nominal fees for others and will be webcast live as well for students across the country.
  • These lectures would be made available later to students across the country. A web portal gian.iitkgp.ac.in has been designed by IIT Kharagpur to allow electronic registration and online assessment.

sources: pib.