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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 26 November 2021

 

 

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY.

2. OPEC+.

3. Shanghai Cooperation Organization. 

4. Interpol.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Green Bonds.

2. FSSAI releases draft regulations for GM foods.

3. ₹10,000 cr. more allotted for MGNREGS.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. English Channel.

2. Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHP).


 

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana:

Context:

Summary findings from the fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey, released recently showed a 12.3 percentage point increase over the previous edition of the survey in the coverage of health insurance to 41% of households surveyed, an indication of the impact of the government’s flagship the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), that was launched in September 2018.

 

Key Features of PM-JAY:

  1. The world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
  2. It provides cover of 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
  3. Coverage: Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.
  4. Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
  5. The National Health Authority (NHA) is the nodal agency responsible for the nationwide roll-out and implementation of the AB-PMJAY scheme.
  6. This scheme is a Centrally sponsored scheme with some Central sector components.

 

Eligibility:

  1. No restrictions on family size, age or gender.
  2. All pre–existing conditions are covered from day one.
  3. Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
  4. Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
  5. Services include approximately 1,393 procedures covering all the costs related to treatment, including but not limited to drugs, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT and ICU charges etc.
  6. Public hospitals are reimbursed for the healthcare services at par with the private hospitals.

 

As per the latest economic survey:

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) contributed to improvement in many health outcomes in States that implemented the programme.
  2. States that joined the PM-JAY, compared to those that did not, experienced greater penetration of health insurance, reduction in infant and child mortality rates, realised improved access and utilisation of family planning services and greater awareness of HIV/AIDS.
  3. Across all the States, the proportion of households with health insurance increased by 54% for States that implemented PM-JAY while falling by 10% in States that did not.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the National Health Authority has also been given the responsibility to implement the National Digital Health Mission? Reference: 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Components of Ayushman Bharat.
  2. PMJAY- Key features.
  3. Eligibility.
  4. About the National Health Agency.
  5. SEHAT scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and potential of PMJAY.

Sources: the Hindu.

OPEC+ move to hit recovery:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

OPEC+ 

Context:

China, the world’s largest crude importer, is non-committal about its intentions to release oil from its reserves on a request from the United States, while OPEC producers were not mulling changing tactics in light of the U.S. action.

 

What’s the issue?

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced plans to release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with other large consuming nations, including China, Japan and India, to try to cool prices. U.S. gasoline prices are up more than 60% in the last year, the fastest increase since 2000.

  • Washington’s move raised speculation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, collectively known as OPEC+, might consider pausing its current agreement to boost output by 4,00,000 barrels per day every month, but the group is not considering that.

OPEC_1

 

What is the Opec+?

  • Opec+ refers to the alliance of crude producers, who have been undertaking corrections in supply in the oil markets since 2017.
  • OPEC plus countries include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan.

 

What is OPEC?

  1. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They were to become the Founder Members of the Organization.
  2. OPEC is a permanent, intergovernmental organization.
  3. OPEC’s objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
  4. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  5. OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil and which shares the ideals of the organization.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Founder members of OPEC.
  2. Top oil producers?
  3. India’s crude oil imports?
  4. Components and refining of crude oil.
  5. Crude oil storage facilities in India?
  6. Geographical location of OPEC members.
  7. Type of Crude oil produced by OPEC and non-OPEC members.
  8. What is OPEC+?

Mains Link:

How groups, such as OPEC, influence oil prices across the world? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

 

Context:

At the recently held 20th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government, India observed that raising bilateral issues is counterproductive to the spirit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

 

What’s the issue?

China and Pakistan have deliberately tried to bring bilateral issues into SCO. This violates the well-established principles and norms of the SCO Charter. Such acts are counterproductive to the spirit of consensus and cooperation that define this organisation and should be condemned.

 

About the SCO:

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.

  • The creation of SCO was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China).
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter was signed during the St.Petersburg SCO Heads of State meeting in June 2002, and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
  • The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.
  • The SCO Charter, sealed in 2002, calls for “peaceful settlement” of conflicts and disputes among member states.

 

Founding members of SCO were- 

  1. The Republic of Kazakhstan,
  2. The People’s Republic of China,
  3. The Kyrgyz Republic,
  4. The Russian Federation,
  5. The Republic of Tajikistan,
  6. The Republic of Uzbekistan.

 

Background:

  • Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five, Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001.
  • Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
  • Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001, following this the Shanghai Five was renamed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.

current affairs 

Member Countries:

Now, SCO is comprised of Eight Member countries. Namely-

  1. Kazakhstan
  2. China
  3. Kyrgyzstan
  4. Russia
  5. Tajikistan
  6. Uzbekistan
  7. India
  8. Pakistan

 

Objectives of SCO:

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states.
  • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas.
  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.

Significance for India:

The SCO’s significance for India lies in economics and geopolitics with the Eurasian states.

  • SCO is a potential platform to advance India’s Connect Central Asia policy. The SCO member states occupy the huge landmass adjacent to India’s extended neighbourhood where India has both economic and security imperatives.
  • Importance of SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group to stabilise Afghanistan. SCO membership provides India a vital counter to some of the other groupings it is a part of.
  • The SCO provides the only multilateral platform for India to deal in close proximity with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Shanghai Five?
  2. When was SCO charter signed and when it entered into force?
  3. SCO founding members.
  4. When did India join the group?
  5. Observers and dialogue partners of SCO.
  6. Permanent bodies under SCO.
  7. Official languages of SCO.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Sources: the Hindu.

Interpol

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Context:

The Interpol has elected Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Director Praveen Sinha as a Delegate for Asia in its Executive Committee.

 

About the Interpol Executive Committee:

The Executive Committee has 13 members from different countries comprising the President of the Interpol, two Vice-Presidents and nine Delegates.

  • It supervises the execution of the Interpol General Assembly’s decisions and the administration and work of its General Secretariat.
  • It meets three times a year and sets organisational policy and direction.

 

What is Interpol?

  • The International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol, is a 194-member intergovernmental organisation.
  • headquartered in Lyon, France.
  • Formed in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission, and started calling itself Interpol in 1956.
  • India joined the organisation in 1949, and is one of its oldest members.

 

Interpol’s declared global policing goals include:

  • Countering terrorism, promoting border integrity worldwide, protection of vulnerable communities, providing a secure cyberspace for people and businesses, curbing illicit markets, supporting environment security, and promoting global integrity.

 

What is the Interpol General Assembly?

  • It is Interpol’s supreme governing body, and comprises representatives from all its member countries.
  • It meets annually for a session lasting approximately four days, to vote on activities and policy.
  • Each country is represented by one or more delegates at the Assembly, who are typically chiefs of law enforcement agencies.
  • The Assembly also elects the members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body which “provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly”.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that like Interpol (which is a non-UN body), there is something called The United Nations Police (UNPOL). There is an Europol.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who is a fugitive economic offender?
  2. What is Interpol.
  3. Various notices issued.
  4. Overview of Interpol’s crime programmes.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Interpol. Suggest reforms.

Sources: the Hindu.

Green Bonds:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

State Bank of India, the country’s largest commercial bank, has dual listed its $650 million green bonds simultaneously on the India International Exchange (India INX) and Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSE). This dual listing is in line with this year’s topic of World Investor Week, ‘Sustainable Finance’, as indicated by the regulatory body International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA).

 

What Is a Green Bond?

A green bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.

These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuing entity’s balance sheet, so they usually carry the same credit rating as their issuers’ other debt obligations.​

  • Green bonds may come with tax incentives to enhance their attractiveness to investors.
  • The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds. It has issued 164 such bonds since 2008, worth a combined $14.4 billion. In 2020, the total issuance of green bonds was worth almost $270 billion, according to the Climate Bond Initiative.

 

How Does a Green Bond Work?

Green bonds work just like any other corporate or government bond.

  • Borrowers issue these securities in order to secure financing for projects that will have a positive environmental impact, such as ecosystem restoration or reducing pollution.
  • Investors who purchase these bonds can expect to make as the bond matures.
  • In addition, there are often tax benefits for investing in green bonds.

 

Green Bonds Vs Blue Bonds:

Blue bonds are sustainability bonds to finance projects that protect the ocean and related ecosystems.

  • This can include projects to support sustainable fisheries, protection of coral reefs and other fragile ecosystems, or reducing pollution and acidification.
  • All blue bonds are green bonds, but not all green bonds are blue bonds.

 

Green Bonds Vs Climate Bonds:

“Green bonds” and “climate bonds” are sometimes used interchangeably, but some authorities use the latter term specifically for projects focusing on reducing carbon emissions or alleviating the effects of climate change.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Green Bonds.
  2. How do they operate?
  3. Features.
  4. How are they different from Blue Bonds.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Green Bonds.

Sources: PIB.

FSSAI releases draft regulations for GM foods:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Biotechnology.

 

FSSAI releases draft regulations for GM foods:

Context:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released draft regulations for GM foods.

 

Overview of the Draft:

  1. No one can manufacture or sell any food products or food ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without prior approval.
  2. Specifies norms that labs will need to adhere for testing GM foods.
  3. The proposed regulations will apply to “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) or Living Modified Organism (LMOs) intended for direct use as food or for processing.”
  4. The regulations’ ambit will include food products, that may have been made using food ingredient or processing aid derived from GMOs, even if GM content is not present in the end-product.
  5. Genetically Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered Organisms “shall not be used as an ingredient” in infant food products.
  6. The draft also proposes labelling norms for food products that contain one per cent or more than one per cent of GMO content.

 

GMO regulation in India:

The task of regulating GMO levels in imported consumables was initially with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union environment ministry.

  • Its role in this was diluted with the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and FSSAI was asked to take over approvals of imported goods.

 

What are Genetically Modified Organism (Transgenic Organism)?

In GMO, genetic material (DNA) is altered or artificially introduced using genetic engineering techniques.

Genetic modification involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes.

  • Inserted genes usually come from a different organism (e.g. In Bt cotton, Bt genes from bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis are induced).

Genetic modification is done to induce a desirable new trait which does not occur naturally in the species.

 

GM techniques are used in:

  1. Biological and medical research,
  2. Production of pharmaceutical drugs,
  3. Experimental medicine (e.g. gene therapy),
  4. Agriculture (e.g. golden rice, Bt cotton etc.),
  5. Genetically modified bacteria to produce the protein insulin,
  6. To produce biofuels from some GM bacteria, etc.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are GM crops?
  2. What are GMOs?
  3. About GEAC.
  4. About the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Sources: Down to Earth.

₹10,000 cr. more allotted for MGNREGS:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Employment related issues.

 

Context:

The Finance Ministry has allocated additional funds of ₹10,000 crore as an interim measure for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) after it ran out of funds allocated in the budget.

 

Need for:

According to its own financial statement, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme has run out of funds halfway through the financial year, and supplementary budgetary allocations will not come to the rescue for at least another month when the next Parliamentary session begins.

 

Implications:

  • This means that payments for MGNREGA workers as well as material costs will be delayed, unless the States dip into their own funds.
  • Activists say the Centre is condemning workers to “forced labour” by delaying wage payments at a time of economic distress.

 

About MGNREGA:

The scheme was introduced in 2005 as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.

  • The key tenet of this social measure and labour law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.

 

Key objectives:

  1. Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
  2. Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening the livelihood base of rural poor.
  3. Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
  4. Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
  5. Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.

 

The following are the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:

  1. Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
  2. Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
  3. The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
  4. Applicants must volunteer for unskilled labour.

 

Implementation of the scheme:

  1. Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
  2. Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
  3. Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
  4. The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
  5. It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what WAGE RIFT is? Read Here (Related topic to Wages)

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Under MGNREGA, what are the roles of Gram Sabha, Gram Panchayat, States, State Food Commission, Centre?
  2. What are job cards, who issues them?
  3. Who sets up the State Employment Guarantee Fund?
  4. What is Wage employment?
  5. Who conducts social audits?

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features and significance of MGNREGA.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

English Channel:

  • The English Channel is a part of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It separates the island of Britain (part of the UK) from northern Franceand joins the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It’s approximately 350 miles long, and at its narrowest in the Strait of Dover.

 

Subansiri Hydroelectric Project (LSHP):

  • Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP), is an under-construction gravity dam on the Subansiri river along the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Subansiri River (gold river), originates in the Tibet Plateau and enters India through Miri hills in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is the largest tributary of Brahmaputra River.
  • The project is being developed by the state-run National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC).
  • It will be the single largest hydroelectric plant in India when completed. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

1. GST Reforms.


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