UPSC CA: 5th September 2020

Kerala tops in care for children

Context:

  • The Vice President of India launched the ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report.

Key points:

  • Two indices have been released as a part of the ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report.
  • It has been brought out by non-governmental organisation Mobile Creches.

Young child outcomes index:

  • The young child outcomes index measures health, nutrition and cognitive growth with the help of indicators such as infant mortality rate, stunting and net attendance at the primary school level.
  • The index has been constructed for two time periods (2005–2006 and 2015–2016) to enable inter-State comparisons as well as provide an idea of change over time.
  • Key Findings:
    • Kerala, Goa, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram are among the top five states for the well-being of children.
    • Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the eight states that have scored below the country’s average.

Young child environment index:

  • The index has been launched to understand the policy and environment enablers that influence a child’s well-being. 
  • It uses five policy enablers that influence child well-being outcomes, including poverty alleviation, strengthening primary healthcare, improving education levels, safe water supply and promotion of gender equity.
  • The environment index was constructed for 2015–2016 only due to limitations of data availability.
  • Key Findings:
    • According to the environment index, Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh secured the top five positions. 
    • The eight states that have a below-average score on the outcomes index also fared poorly on this one.

 

RBI alters priority sector norms to help start-ups, farmers avail loans

Context:

  • Revised priority sector lending guidelines has been released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Key points:

  • The altered guidelines include funding to segments including start-ups and agriculture.
  • Bank finance of up to ₹50 crore to start-ups, loans to farmers both for installation of solar power plants for solarisation of grid-connected agriculture pumps, and for setting up compressed biogas (CBG) plants have been included as fresh categories eligible for finance under the priority sector.
  • Higher weightage has been assigned to incremental priority sector credit in ‘identified districts’ where priority sector credit flow is comparatively low.
  • Loan limits for renewable energy have been doubled.
  • A higher credit limit has been specified for Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) and Farmers Producers Companies (FPCs) undertaking farming with assured marketing of their produce at a predetermined price.

Priority Sector Lending

  • It includes those sectors which the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India consider as important for the development of the basic needs of the country and are to be given priority over other sectors.
  • The banks are mandated to encourage the growth of such sectors with adequate and timely credit.

 

Kaziranga set to be expanded by 3,053 hectares

Context:

  • The Assam government has approved the addition of 30.53 sq. km to the 884 sq. km-Kaziranga National Park.

Key points:

  • The additional area would make the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) grow to 1085.53 sq km.
  • The core area of the KNPTR is 430 sq km.
  • The three additions are habitat corridors and would help provide connectivity to Orang and Nameri National Parks across river Brahmaputra.
  • It also provides connectivity to the hills of Karbi Anglong to the south of the park, where the rhino, tiger, deer and other animals take refuge during the floods.
  • The additions include encroachment-evicted areas and suitable wildlife habitat on river islands (sandbars) that are vulnerable to encroachment.
  • It is a move to consolidate the wildlife areas anticipating better wildlife conservation and reduction in human-wildlife negative interactions in the future.

 

Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020

Context: 

  • GII 2020 has been released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Key points:

  • GII ranks global economies according to their innovation capabilities, including roughly 80 indicators, grouped into innovation inputs and outputs.
  • Switzerland is the world’s most-innovative economy followed by Sweden, the United States of America (U.S.), the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the Netherlands.
  • India has been ranked 48th on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 among 131 economies, breaking into the top 50 countries for the first time.
  • According to recent reports India has made the most significant progress in the GII together with three other economies China, Vietnam and Philippines.
  • In India three ‘clusters’ Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai feature in the top 100 science & technology hotspots, further endorsing India’s presence in the global innovation economy.

 

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

In News:

  • Iran has granted IAEA inspectors access to one of two sites where undeclared nuclear activity may have taken place in the early 2000s.

More about news:

  • Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).
  • However, as per IAEA reports, Iran continues to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium in violation of limitations set in the deal.

About IAEA:

  • Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.
  • Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
  • Functions:
    • Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
    • Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
  • Board of Governors:
    • 22 member states (must represent a stipulated geographic diversity) — elected by the General Conference (11 members every year) – 2 year term.
    • At least 10 member states — nominated by the outgoing Board.
    • Board members each receive one vote.

 

Railways may decriminalise begging

Context: 

  • The Ministry of Railways has proposed to decriminalise begging on trains or railway premises, as part of an exercise to rationalise penalties under the provisions of the Railway Act, 1989.

Key points:

  • Section 144(2) of the Act punishes begging and prescribes imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year, or with a fine that may extend to ₹2,000, or with both.
  • The Railways now proposes to amend the section stating that “No person shall be permitted to beg in any railway carriage or upon any part of the Railway”.