Daily Prelims Notes 24 August 2020
- August 24, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- BIS standards for drinking water
- State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report
- National Council for Transgender Persons
- Inverted duty structure
- Farm sector and GDP
- ASEEM portal
- Vaccine trial
The Reserve Bank of India’s first Monetary Policy Committee completes its four-year term with a mixed record.
- The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) constituted by the Central Government under Section 45ZB of RBI Act determines the policy interest rate required to achieve the inflation target.
- Accordingly, the Central Government in September 2016 constituted the MPC as under Governor of the Reserve Bank of India – Chairperson, ex officio;
- The primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth. Price stability is a necessary precondition to sustainable growth.
- In May 2016, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 was amended to provide a statutory basis for the implementation of the flexible inflation targeting framework.
- The amended RBI Act also provides for the inflation target to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once in every five years.
- Accordingly, the Central Government has notified in the Official Gazette 4 per cent Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation as the target for the period from August 5, 2016 to March 31, 2021 with the upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent and the lower tolerance limit of 2 per cent.
- The MPC is required to meet at least four times in a year.
- The composition of the MPC is as follows;
- Governor of the Reserve Bank of India – Chairperson, ex officio;
- Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, in charge of Monetary Policy –
(Member, ex officio)
- One officer of the Reserve Bank of India to be nominated by the Central Board – Member, ex officio;
- Except ex-officio members, three independent members will hold the office for a period of 4 years or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
- The quorum for the meeting of the MPC is four members. Each member of the MPC has one vote, and in the event of an equality of votes, the Governor has a second or casting vote.
2. BIS standards for drinking water
Subject: Science and tech
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft standard for the supply system of piped drinking water and has invited comments from water utilities
- The draft is labelled ‘Drinking water supply quality management system — requirements for piped drinking water supply service’ and has been prepared by the BIS’ Public Drinking Water Supply Services Sectional Committee.
- It outlines the process of water supply, from raw water sources to household taps, and has been developed keeping in view the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission for providing safe and adequate drinking water to all rural households by 2024 through tap connections.
- The standard holds importance as it is expected to make the process of piped water supply more uniform, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas of the country where the system runs on various government orders and circulars.
- Drinking water is water intended for human consumption for drinking and cooking purposes from any source. It includes water (treated or untreated) supplied by any means for human consumption. The quality standards for drinking water in India is prescribed by Bureau of Indian Standards laid down IS 10500 : 2012
|Designated-Best-Use||Class of water|
|Drinking Water Source without conventional treatment but after disinfection||A|
|Outdoor bathing (Organised)||B|
|Drinking water source after conventional treatment and disinfection||C|
India has categorically rejected the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the joint press release by China and Pakistan pertaining to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- The CPEC is part of China’s larger regional transnational ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, whose two arms are the land-based New Silk Road and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, using which Beijing aims to create a Silk Road Economic Belt sprawled over a large patch of Asia and eastern Europe, and crisscrossed by a web of transport, energy supply and telecommunications lines.
- It consists of clutch of major infrastructure works currently under way in Pakistan, intended to link Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province to Gwadar deep sea port close to Pakistan’s border with Iran.
- Several other road, rail and power projects are associated with the corridor, and the project seeks to expand and upgrade infrastructure across the length and breadth of Pakistan, and to widen and deepen economic ties with its “all-weather friend” China.
4. State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report
Data from the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report show that India retains the dubious distinction of being the country with the largest population of food insecure people.
- The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is the most authoritative global study tracking progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition.
- It is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).Its first edition was brought out in 2017
- Hunger continues to be on the rise since 2014 and the global prevalence of undernourishment, or overall percentage of hungry people, is 8.9%.
- Asia remains home to the greatest number of undernourished (38 crore). Africa is second (25 crore), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (4.8 crore).
- According to current estimates, in 2019, 21.3% (14.4.crore) of children under 5 years were stunted, 6.9% (4.7 crore) wasted and 5.6% (3.8 million) overweight.
- Healthy diet costs more than ₹143 (or $1.90/ day), which is the international poverty threshold. The number of people globally who can’t afford a healthy diet is at 300 crore people, or more than the combined population of the two most populous countries in the world, i.e. China and India.
- The previous editions of the report cited that conflict, climate variability, and economic slowdowns acted as hindrances on the path to achieve the global target. COVID-19 pandemic is expected to only aggravate this problem. Desert Locust outbreaks in Eastern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, and parts of South Asia, especially amidst the pandemic, has only exacerbated the situation.
5. National Council for Transgender Persons
Subject: Government organisation
The Centre has constituted the national council for transgender persons
- The council was established by the Centre in exercise of the powers conferred by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
- According to the Act, the functions of the council include advising the Centre on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons; monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons.
- The other functions of the council are to review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of government and other governmental and non-governmental organisationsdealing with matters relating to transgender persons, to redress the grievances of transgender persons, and to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Centre.
- The council will have representatives from community members, five states and 10 Central departments.
- Its chairperson will be the Union minister for social justice and empowerment while the vice-chairperson will be the junior minister in the ministry, according to the gazette notification.
- The other members will be from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry Home Affairs, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Minority Affairs ministry and Rural Development ministry among others.
- The representatives of the state governments and union territories by rotation, one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions have also been announced.
- Also, five representatives of the transgender community, one each from the north, south, east, west and northeast regions have also been announced.
Union Textiles Ministry is planning to commission a study to analyse whether the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on textiles and apparels was creating an inverted duty structure.
The inverted duty structure denotes prevalence of higher taxes on inputs than on finished items.
For the first time, farm sector witnessed growth even as GDP sees a contraction
- April-June may be the first time that India’s economy would contract year-on-year since the government started coming out with quarterly estimates of GDP from 1996-97.
- But the data for the quarter, to be released by the National Statistical Office on August 31, could also show GDP falling for the first time in spite of agricultural production going up.
- The country’s GDP registered an annual decline, at minus 5.2%, last in 1979-80. But that year also recorded negative growth for agricultural GDP, at minus 12.8%.
- The first quarter especially, which bore the brunt of lockdown-induced production disruptions, is expected to record huge de-growth based on a host of indicators. These include the index of industrial production (down 35.9% in April-June 2020 over April-June 2019), commercial vehicle sales (minus 84.8%), finished steel consumption (minus 55%) and cargo handled by major ports (minus 19.7%).
8. ASEEM portal
A jobs portal launched on July 11 has seen registration of over 69 lakh individuals in just 40 days. But the number of individuals who got jobs is just a fraction of those who registered.
- It will help skilled people find sustainable livelihood opportunities.
- Apart from recruiting a skilled workforce that spurs business competitiveness and economic growth, the Artificial Intelligence-based platform has been envisioned to strengthen their career pathways by handholding them through their journeys to attain industry-relevant skills and explore emerging job opportunities especially in the post COVID era.
- Besides identifying major skills gap in the sectors and providing review of global best practices, ASEEM will provide employers a platform to assess the availability of skilled workforce and formulate their hiring plans.
- Atamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM) refers to all the data, trends and analytics which describe the workforce market and map demand of skilled workforce to supply. It will provide real-time granular information by identifying relevant skilling requirements and employment prospects.
Subject: Science and tech
Phase 2 human clinical trials of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate for Covid-19, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, will begin in the coming week.
- The general stages of the development cycle of a vaccine are:
- Exploratory stage
- Pre-clinical stage
- Clinical development
- Regulatory review and approval
- Quality control
- Clinical development is a three-phase process.
- During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine.
- In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended.
- In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.
- In India, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation gives approvals for clinical trials.