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02 May, 2020

47 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-II Libya crisis International Relations
Govt extends lockdown for two more weeks-COVID-19 Governance
B R Ambedkar laid the foundation for workers’ rights, social security in India Governance
GS-III International Workers’ Day
IEA: Global Energy Review 2020
5G signal now available on Mount Everest peak
Government raises Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP)
PT Pointer Researchers in Canada are using algae to develop CoVID 19 test kits
Kashmir saffron gets GI tag Economic Issues
GS-II : International Relations
Libya crisis

UAE affirmed it’s commitment to achieve a political solution in Libya

Part of: GS-II- International issues (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

The United Arab Emirates has affirmed its commitment to achieving a political solution in Libya and called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) emphasized the UAE's support for a political solution to end the on-going Libyan crisis in line with the outcomes of the Berlin Conference. It called on all parties to commit to the political process under the supervision of the United Nations. MoFAIC commended the Libyan National Army for conducting anti-terror operations and its steadfast pursuit of stability by way of confronting extremist and terrorist militias in the country.

Ministry expressed its concern over Turkish interference in Arab affairs, particularly in Libya, via the deployment of militants belonging to terrorist organisations in Libyan territory in flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the smuggling of arms in violation of UN resolutions and Berlin Conference outcomes, resulting in stalled efforts to achieve a ceasefire.

The UAE called upon all parties to work towards guaranteeing a better future for the Libyan people that meets their aspirations for stability, peace, and prosperity.

Libyan crises

Post-independence history

Libya is mostly desert and oil-rich country in northern Africa. Libya gained independence in 1951. Colonel Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and ruled for four decades until he was toppled in 2011 following an armed rebellion assisted by Western military intervention. The civil war in Libya may lead to a new migrant crisis from Africa. Libya has the largest oil reserve in Africa and one of the largest oil producers in the world. Instability in Libya may increase oil prices globally.

What is the political status of Libya?

Libya has been torn by violence and political instability since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed by rebels in 2011. Today there are two governments in Libya, one based at Tobruk and the other in the capital Tripoli. The capital city Tripoli was captured by the Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj is called the Government of National Accord (GNA)

It has international recognition. The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Mr. Haftar, backs the Tobruk government. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are backing Mr. Haftar’s forces. Turkey and Qatar backs the Tripoli based government.

Libya has been in a state of civil war ever after the overthrow of Gaddafi following the Arab Spring Revolution which affected many of the countries having dictatorship. Observers are of the opinion that in recent years, Libya's conflict has turned into a proxy war, with a number of foreign powers joining in to defend ideological and economic interests. Al-Sarraj's administration is backed by the U.N. and Western powers including the U.S., but mainly relies on Turkey, Qatar and Italy. His rival Khalifa Haftar , a one time ally of Gaddafi, enjoys the support of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates , Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and France. There were recent reports that Haftar may take over the military control in Libya.

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GS-II : Governance
Govt extends lockdown for two more weeks-COVID-19

Govt extends lockdown for two more weeks

Part of: GS-II- Governance (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Here's what all will not be allowed under the new guidelines issued today irrespective of the zone

  1. Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road
  2. Running of schools, colleges and other educational, training, coaching institutions
  3. Hospitality services including hotels and restaurants
  4. Places of large public gatherings such as cinema halls, malls, gyms, sports complexes
  5. Social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings
  6. Religious places, places of worship for public

However, movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes and for those permitted by the MHA

The order states that movement of individuals for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am. Local authorities shall issue orders imposing Section 144 and ensure strict compliance, the order states.

In all zones, those above the age of 65, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes

OPDs and medical clinics shall be permitted to operate in Red, Orange and Green Zones with social distancing norms and other preventive measures. However, these will not be permitted in containment zones.
These activities are not allowed in Red Zones

  1. Plying of cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws;
  2. Running of taxis and cab aggregators;
  3. Intra-district and inter-district plying of buses;
  4. Barber shops, spas and saloons

Here's what all is allowed in Red Zones

  1. Movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed only for permitted activities, with a maximum of 2 persons (besides the driver) in four-wheeler vehicles, and with no pillion rider in the case of two-wheelers
  2. Industrial establishments in urban areas - Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted
  3. Manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates; production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain; manufacturing of IT hardware; jute industry with staggered shifts and social distancing; and, manufacturing units of packaging material
  4. Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction (where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside) and construction of renewable energy projects.
  5. Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets and market complexes.
  6. All industrial and construction activity in rural areas, including MNREGA works, food-processing units and brick-kilns
  7. In rural areas, without distinction of nature of goods, all shops except in shopping malls, are permitted
  8. All agricultural activities - sowing, harvesting, procurement and marketing operations in the agricultural supply chain are permitted
  9. Animal husbandry activities are fully permitted including fisheries
  10. All plantation activities are allowed, including their processing and marketing.
  11. All health services (including AYUSH) are to remain functional, including transport of medical personnel and patients through air ambulances
  12. Financial sector to remain open largely. This includes banks, non-banking finance companies, insurance and capital market activities, and credit co-op societies
  13. Operation of homes for children, senior citizens, destitutes, women and widows, etc
  14. Operation of anganwadis
  15. Public utilities in power, water, sanitation, waste management, telecommunication and internet
  16. Courier and postal services
  17. E-Commerce activities, in the Red Zones, are permitted only in respect of essential goods
    Private offices can operate with upto 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home
  18. All standalone (single) shops, neighborhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.
  19. All Government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending upto 33% as per requirement. Defense and Security services, Health and Family Welfare, Police, Prisons, Home Guards, Civil Defence, Fire and Emergency Services, Disaster management and related services, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Customs, Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuvak Kendra (NYK) and Municipal services shall function without any restrictions; delivery of public services shall be ensured and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose.
  20. Print and electronic media, IT and IT enabled services, data and call centres, cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers etc.
  21. Manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates; production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain
  22. Jute industry with staggered shifts and social distancing; and manufacturing of IT hardware and manufacturing units of packaging material will continue to be permitted.

What all is allowed in Orange Zones

  1. In addition to activities permitted in Red Zone, below are the additional activities that are now permitted taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with 1 driver and 1 passenger only.
  2. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only.
    Four wheeler vehicles will have maximum two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.

What all is allowed in Green Zones

All activities are permitted except the limited number of activities which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone.

Buses can operate with upto 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with upto 50% capacity.

The MHA order further states that across the zones, all goods traffic is to be permitted. "No State/ UT shall stop the movement of cargo for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate pass of any sort is needed for such movement, which is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the country during the lockdown period," the order states.

Classification

The Red, Orange and Green Zone classification is based on factors such as the number of novel coronavirus cases, the doubling rate of Covid-19 cases, and the extent of testing and surveillance. Red Zones have a high number of cases and a high doubling rate, Orange Zones have comparatively fewer cases and Green Zones have not had any cases in the last 21 days.

What is Section 144 of CrPC?

  • Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is frequently used to prohibit assemblies of four or more individuals, or to order mobile phone companies to block voice, SMS, or Internet communications in one or more geographical areas.
  • It empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate specially empowered by the state government in this behalf to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.
    • The orders may be directed against a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.
  • No order passed under Section 144 can remain in force for more than two months from the date of the order.
  • The state government can extend this, but not more than six months.
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GS-II : Governance
B R Ambedkar laid the foundation for workers’ rights, social security in India

B R Ambedkar laid the foundation for workers’ rights, social security in India

Part of: GS-II- Governance – Rights (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

International Labour Day is celebrated on May 1 to honour workers. Labour has an undeniable role in shaping the nation’s fortune. Since the times immemorial, the working class has struggled and sacrificed for greater causes — first for Independence and then building the nation brick by brick. The ongoing fight against COVID-19 has brought temporary hardship for everyone, including workers.

Many leaders have been a beacon for workers and B R Ambedkar was one among them.

  1. As the representative of the Depressed Classes in the Round Table Conference, Ambedkar forcefully pleaded for living wages, decent working conditions and the freedom of peasants from the clutches of cruel landlords.
  2. He also fought for the removal of social evils that blighted the lives of the downtrodden.
  3. He went on to form the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in 1936 with a comprehensive programme to meet the needs and grievances of the landless, poor tenants, agriculturists, and workers. 

On September 17, 1937, during the Poona session of the Bombay Assembly, he introduced a bill to abolish the Khoti system of land tenure in Konkan. He opposed the introduction of Industrial Disputes Bill, 1937 because it removed the workers’ right to strike. His profound knowledge of labour matters was universally acknowledged and demonstrated during his term as Labour member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council from 1942 to 1946.

The Indian Trade Union (Amendment) Bill, introduced by Ambedkar on November 8, 1943, compelled the employers to acknowledge trade unions.

Ambedkar did not accept the Marxist position that the abolition of private property would bring an end to poverty and suffering “Communists say that they have not destroyed other valuable end in the process of achieving Equality. How many people have they killed for achieving their end? Has human life no value? Could they not have taken property without taking the life of the owner?”

On February 8, 1944, in the legislative assembly during the debate on the Lifting of Ban on Employment of Women on Underground Work in Coal Mines, Ambedkar said: “It is for the first time that I think in any industry the principle has been established of equal pay for equal work irrespective of the sex.” It was a historic moment. Through the Mines Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 1943, he empowered women workers with maternity benefits.

Addressing the Indian Labour Conference held in New Delhi on November 26, 1945, Ambedkar emphasised the urgent need to bring progressive labour welfare legislation

Inspired by Ambedkar, the current government has taken steps to improve the quality of life of workers.   For example, the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan Yojna was launched in February 2019 to ensure protection of unorganised workers in their old age.

Through technological interventions like Shram Suvidha Portal, transparency and accountability are ensured in the enforcement of labour law.

The government is working to simplify, amalgamate and rationalise the provisions of the existing central labour laws into four labour codes — Labour Code on Wages, on Industrial Relations, on Social Security & Welfare and on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions.

In the extraordinary circumstances brought on by the COVID pandemic, the labour fraternity deserves a special salute. During his Mann ki Baat broadcast on March 29, the PM apologised for the inconvenience. As we recall the innumerable contribution of the countless labourers in nation-building, with an ever-increasing spirit of Shramev Jayate, we must remember the contributions of Ambedkar.

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Ministry of Labour and Employment in February 2019. It was launched at Vastral in Gujarat. PM-SYM is the world’s largest pension scheme. Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan is a central government scheme that is introduced for old age protection and social security of Unorganised Workers (UW). 

Name of the scheme

PM-SYM

Full Form

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan

Date of launching

15th February 2019

Government Ministry

Ministry of Labour and Employment

Benefits of PM-SYM Scheme

The Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme which aims to provide security and protection to the unorganised workers as well as to the old age group. 

The scheme is meant to benefit workers in the unorganised sector and this includes street vendors, rickshaw pullers, agricultural workers, mid-day meal workers, construction workers or workers in similar other occupations. There are an estimated 42 crore such unorganised workers in the country. Under this scheme, the beneficiary after attaining the age of 60 years would receive an assured monthly pension of Rs 3000/- per month and 50% of the pension shall be entitled to the spouse of the beneficiary as family pension after the death of the beneficiary. 

Some of the benefits provided to the beneficiary under this scheme are mentioned below:

  • They are provided with an assured monthly pension where each beneficiary will receive a minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.
  • If the beneficiary dies during the receipt of the pension, 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary will be entitled to the spouse as family pension.
  • If a beneficiary has given regular contribution and died due to any cause (before the age of 60 years), his/her spouse will be entitled to join and continue the scheme subsequently by payment of regular contribution or exit the scheme as per provisions of exit and withdrawal.

Who is eligible under the PM-SYM Scheme?

To be eligible under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan Dhan, the candidate should fulfil the below-mentioned criteria:  

  • He/she should be an unorganised worker (UW) aged between 18 years to 40 years.
  • He/she should have a monthly income of Rs. 15,000 or below.
  • He/she should possess an Aadhar card along with a Savings Bank Account/Jan Dhan account number with IFSC.

Any individual who is engaged in the Organised Sector (membership of EPF/NPS/ESIC) and is an income tax payer will not be eligible to apply for the PM-SYM Scheme. 

How to enrol for PM-SYM?

The eligible member will be required to have a savings bank account, mobile phone, and Aadhaar number before enrolling under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan Dhan. 

  • He/she may visit the nearest Common Services Centres (CSC eGovernance Services India Limited (CSC SPV) and get enrolled for PM-SYM using Aadhaar number and savings bank account/Jan-Dhan account number on self-certification basis. 
  • The beneficiary can also visit the PM-SYM web portal and self-register using the Aadhar number/savings bank account/Jan-Dhan account number on a self-certification basis.
  • The enrollment process is carried out by various enrollment agencies known as Common Services Centres. The UW groups can visit their nearest CSC along with their documents and get registered for the PM-SYM Scheme. 
  • Life Insurance Corporation, ESIC/EPFO and all Labour offices of Central and State Governments will facilitate the unorganised workers about the benefits and enrollment procedure of the PM-SYM Scheme.
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GS-III :
International Workers’ Day

International Workers’ Day

Part of: GS-III- Labour (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Every year, 1st May is celebrated as the International Workers’ Day and as Labour Day in different parts of the world to commemorate the contributions of workers and the historic labour movements.

  • It is a day when the International Labour Organisation (ILO), nations, employers and workers from all over the world commit themselves towards the collective efforts of promoting decent work for all.
  • In 1889, the Second International, an organisation created by socialist and labour parties, declared that 1st May would be commemorated as International Workers’ Day from then on.
  • On 1st May 1904, the International Socialist Congress at Amsterdam, the Netherlands called for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day for the class demands of the proletariat and made it mandatory upon the proletarian organisations of all countries to stop work on this day.

Different countries

USA

The USA celebrates Labor day on the first Monday of September, every year. The USA recognised the day as a federal holiday in 1894.

Canada also celebrates the Labour day on the same day as the US.

Labor day was designated as a day in support of workers by trade unions and socialist groups in the memory of the Haymarket affair of 1886 in Chicago, USA. It gave the workers’ movement a great impetus. Haymarket Affair was a peaceful rally in support of workers which led to a violent clash with the police, leading to severe casualties. Those who died were hailed as “Haymarket Martyrs”.

Workers’ rights violations, straining work hours, poor working conditions, low wages and child labour were the issues highlighted in the protest.

USSR

The Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc nations started celebrating the Labor day after the Russian Revolution 1917. Impact of Russian Revolution: New ideologies such as Marxism and Socialism inspired many socialist and communist groups and they attracted peasants and workers and made them an integral part of national movement. It became a national holiday during the Cold War.

India

In India, Labor day was first celebrated in 1923, after the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan initiated the celebrations and Comrade Singaravelar (Singaravelu Chettiar) continued the celebrations. Comrade Singaravelar was one of the leaders of the Self Respect movement in the Madras Presidency and passed a resolution stating the government should allow everybody a national holiday on Labour Day.

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GS-III :
IEA: Global Energy Review 2020

IEA: Global Energy Review 2020

Part of: GS-III- Economy-Energy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Note: For ENERGY chapter: https://www.aspireias.com/pt-kunji-free-videos

Recently, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report namely, Global Energy Review:2020 which also includes the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on global energy demand and CO2 emissions.

  • The imposition of lockdown in several countries has largely restricted transportation such as road and air travel. In turn, the drastic reduction in the global energy demands has been observed.

Global Energy Demands

  • The countries in full lockdown are experiencing an average decline of 25% in energy demand per week, while in those with a partial lockdown, the fall in energy demand is about 18% per week.
  • Global energy demand declined by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • Further, it is expected that the impact of Covid?19 on energy demand in 2020 would be more than seven times larger than the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on global energy demand.
  • Considering the above scenario the global demand of various energy sources can be analysed as given below:
    • Coal Demand:
      • It has been declined by 8% compared with the first quarter of 2019.
      • The reasons for such decline include, China – a coal-based economy – was the country hardest hit by Covid?19 in the first quarter and cheap gas and continued growth in renewables elsewhere challenged coal.
    • Oil Demand:
      • It has declined by 5% in the first quarter, majorly due to curtailment in mobility and aviation, which account for nearly 60% of global oil demand.
      • The report also estimates that the global demand for oil could further drop by 9% on average in 2020, which will return oil consumption to 2012 levels.
    • Gas Demand:
      • The impact of the pandemic on gas demand has been moderate, at around 2%, as gas-based economies were not strongly affected in the first quarter of 2020.
    • Renewables Energy Resources Demand:
      • It is the only source that has registered a growth in demand, driven by larger installed capacity.
      • Further, the demand for renewables is expected to rise by 1% by 2020 because of low operating costs and preferential access for many power systems.
    • Electricity Demand:
      • It has been declined by 20% during periods of full lockdown in several countries.
      • However, the residential demand is outweighed by reductions in commercial and industrial operations.

CO2 Emissions and COVID

  • Overall, the emissions decline in 2020 could be 8% lower than in 2019, which would be the lowest level of emissions since 2010.
  • It is also the largest level of emission reduction — six times larger than witnessed during the 2009 financial crisis, and twice as large as the combined total of all reductions witnessed since World War II.
  • In the first quarter of 2020, the decline in CO2 emissions is more than the fall in global energy demand.

India’s Energy Demands

  • India, which is one of the IEA association countries, has experienced a reduction in its energy demands by 30% as a result of the nation-wide lockdown.
  • Moreover, in India, where economic growth and power production are slowing significantly, the demand for coal is expected to decline steeply.
    • China and India are the largest and third-largest electricity users in the world respectively, and coal use is dominant in both these countries shaping the global demand for this fuel.

International Energy Agency

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy.
  • It was established in the wake of 1973 (set up in 1974) oil crisis after the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices.
  • It is headquartered in Paris, France.
  • World Enegry Outlook report is released by IEA annually.
  • India became an associate member of the International Energy Agency in 2017.
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GS-III :
5G signal now available on Mount Everest peak

5G signal now available on Mount Everest peak

Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Climbers to Mount Everest from the Chinese side can now enjoy high-speed 5G coverage after the world’s highest-altitude base station started operation in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet.

  1. Built at an altitude of 6,500 metres, the base station which became operational ,is located at the advance base camp of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, according to state-run telecom giant China Mobile.
  2. The base station, along with another two that were previously built at altitudes of 5,300 metres and 5,800 metres respectively, realises the full coverage of 5G signal of Mount Everest on the north ridge as well as the summit.
  3. The cost of building five 5G stations in the extremely difficult terrain could reach 10 million yuan (USD 1.42 million). The 5G stations will help mountaineers from across the world communicate better. It could also prove to be helpful for rescuing workers and researcher
  4. Located at the China-Nepal border, Mount Everest has an altitude of more than 8,840 metres, with its north part located in Xigaze prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region

About 5G

5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication technologies. In addition to faster speeds, 5G offers greater bandwidth and network capacity, paving the way for a future of driverless cars, more connected devices and high-definition connections for virtual meetings and telemedicine.

Past THE HINDU editorial-5G

Union Communications Minister announced that the government will be holding auction for spectrum, which includes airwaves that will be used to offer 5G or fifth-generation services, in the current calendar year.

While some countries such as South Korea and the U.S. have begun rolling out commercial 5G services, India is yet to begin trial for these even as the government is targeting 2020 as the launch year for 5G in the country.

Mr. Prasad said the government plans to start 5G trials in the next 100 days or by mid-September.

The socio economics impact of 5G has yet to be analysed. However, it will make significant impact on every area where wireless transmission is inevitable.

What is 5G?

It is the next generation cellular technology that will provide faster and more reliable communication with ultra-low latency.

Latency is the amount of time data takes to travel between its source and destination.

A government panel report points out that with 5G, the peak network data speeds are expected to be in the range of 2-20 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

This is in contrast to 4G link speeds in averaging 6-7 Megabit per second (Mbps) in India as compared to 25 Mbps in advanced countries.

Who does it benefit?

With 5G technology, consumers will be able to download data heavy content such as 8K movies and games with better graphics in just a few seconds. But once 5G becomes commercial, users will be required to change their current devices in favour of 5G-enabled ones.

However, it is likely that the primary use of the technology will go beyond delivery of services on personal mobiles devices.

A government panel on 5G says the technology will extend the use of wireless technologies for the first time across completely new sectors of the economy from industrial to commercial, educational, health care, agricultural, financial and social sectors.

The report also stresses that even after the entry of 5G into the Indian networks, the earlier generation mobile technologies (2G, 3G and 4G) will continue to remain in use and that it may take 10 or more years to phase them out.

What about spectrum auction?

The government plans to undertake spectrum auction in the current calendar year.

In a first step towards preparing for these auctions, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had in August last year recommended that entire available spectrum be put to auction in the forthcoming sale.

As a result, a total of 8,644 MHz of spectrum will be put on sale, making it the largest ever such auction. The total base price of the total airwaves on sale is about ?4.9 lakh crore.

Spectrum auctions are a major revenue earner for the government. In the last auction, held in October 2016, it fetched the government over ?65,000 crore. However, 60% of the spectrum remained unsold.

For 5G spectrum, i.e. the spectrum in 3300-3600 MHz which will be put out for bids for the first time, the regulator has recommended a pan-India reserve price of about ?492 crore per MHz for unpaired spectrum.

Concerns:

Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has also expressed concerns about the financial health of the sector amid intense competition and recent phase of consolidation. Currently, the industry’s cumulative debt is pegged at around ?7 lakh crore.

The COAI has also pointed out that 5G is overpriced by at least 30% to 40% compared to international standards and auction in other markets such as South Korea and the U.S.

In previous auctions, the government saw no takers for the 700 MHz spectrum, which is used to offer high speed 4G services and was put on sale for the first time, mainly due to the high reserve price.

In its recommendations now, the sectoral regulator has said that the prices be reduced by about 43%. The recommended pan-India reserve price for 700 MHz now is ?6,538 crore per MHz as opposed to ?11,500 crore last time.

Various field Applications of 5G Network:

  1. One of the primary applications of 5G will be implementation of sensor-embedded network that will allow real time relay of information across fields such as manufacturing, consumer durables and agriculture.
  2. 5G can also help make transport infrastructure more efficient by making it smart. 5G will enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, making driverless cars, among other things, a reality.
  3. Low latency is one of the most important features of 5G technology which is significant for mission critical applications. 5G networks are capable of latency less than a millisecond.
  4. 5G will be using new radio millimetre waves for transmission. It has much higher bandwidth compared to lower LTE bands and capable of huge data rate.
  5. 5G is the most efficient candidate for Internet of Things due to its flexibility, unused spectrum availability and low-cost solutions for deployment.
  6. IoT applications will collects huge amount of data from millions of devices and sensors. It requires an efficient network for data collection, processing, transmission, control and real-time analytics.
  7. Healthcare industry has to integrate all the operation with use of a powerful network.
  8. 5G will power healthcare industry with smart medical devices, Internet of medical things, smart analytics, and high definition medical imaging technologies.

Conclusion:

5G is expected to form the backbone of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine to machine communications, thereby supporting a much larger range of applications and services, including driverless vehicles, tele-surgery and real time data analytics.

The ultra-low latency offered by 5G makes the technology desirable for such use cases.

5G is one of the most sophisticated wireless technologies we have ever developed so far. It will revolutionize the entire area where wireless network can be used for efficient and secure communication.

It is widely accepted that 5G’s value for India may be even higher than in advanced countries because of the lower levels of investments in physical infrastructure.

5G may offer ‘leapfrog’ opportunities by providing ‘smart infrastructure’ that offers lower cost and faster infrastructure delivery.

 

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GS-III :
Government raises Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

Government raises Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

Part of: GS-III- Economy (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

TRIFED to monitor the implementation of the revised MSP in states

In a crucial  announcement affecting the livelihoods of tribal gatherers , the Government today revised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) of 49 items.

The order issued by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in New Delhi today states that the MSP for MFPs is revised once in every 3 years by the Pricing Cell constituted under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.

It further states that however, in view of the exceptional and very difficult circumstances currently prevailing in the country on account of COVID-19 pandemic and the potential of the instant scheme to offer the much needed support to the tribal MFP gatherers, the competent authority has decided to relax the existing provisions in the scheme guidelines and effect revision of MSP in respect of the MFP items currently covered under the scheme after the due consultation with MFP Pricing Cell.

The increase across various items of minor forest produce ranges from 16% to 66%. The increase is expected to provide an immediate and much needed momentum to procurement of Minor Tribal Produce in at least 20 States.

TRIFED

Introduction

  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987. It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED has its Head Office located in New Delhi and has a network of 13 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.

Objectives

  • The ultimate objective of TRIFED is socio-economic development of tribal people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products such as metal craft, tribal textiles, pottery, tribal paintings and pottery on which the tribals depends heavily for major portion of their income.
  • TRIFED acts as a facilitator and service provider for tribes to sell their product.
  • The approach by TRIFED aims to empower tribal people with knowledge, tools and pool of information so that they can undertake their operations in a more systematic and scientific manner.
  • It also involves capacity building of the tribal people through sensitization, formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and imparting training to them for undertaking a particular activity.

Functions

It mainly undertakes two functions viz. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development and Retail Marketing and Development.

Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development

  • An important source of livelihood for tribal people are non-wood forest products, generally termed 'Minor Forest Produce (MFP)'. This includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and include bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.
  • The Minor Forest Produces provide both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests. They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sales.
  • MFP has significant economic and social value for the forest dwellers as an estimated 100 Million people derive their source of livelihood from the collection and marketing of Minor Forest Produce (Report of the National Committee on Forest Rights Act, 2011).
  • Around 100 million forest dwellers depend on Minor Forest Produces for food, shelter, medicines and cash income. Tribals derive 20-40% of their annual income from Minor Forest Produce on which they spend major portion of their time.
  • MFP also has strong linkage to women’s financial empowerment as most of the Minor Forest Produces are collected and used/sold by women.
  • The people who depend on MFP are generally beset with a number of other problems such as perishable nature of the produce, lack of holding capacity, lack of marketing infrastructure, exploitation by middlemen, etc. Due to this, the MFP gatherers who are mostly poor are unable to bargain for fair prices.
  • To cope with the above problem, Govt. of India has decided to introduce the scheme of “Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain”.
  • The scheme is designed as a social safety net for improvement of livelihood of MFP gatherers by providing them a fair price for the MFPs they collect.

Retail Marketing and Development

  • TRIFED aims to improve the livelihood of the tribal communities by creating a sustainable market and create business opportunities for tribal people.
  • It involves exploring marketing possibilities for marketing of tribal products on a sustainable basis, creating brand and providing other necessary services.
  • It has a network of 13 regional offices across the country which identifies and source tribal products for marketing through its retail marketing network of TRIBES INDIA outlets.
  • It has been undertaking sourcing of various handicraft, handloom and natural & food products through its empanelled suppliers across the country. The suppliers comprise of individual tribal artisans, tribal SHGs, Organisations/ Agencies/NGOs working with tribals. The suppliers are empanelled with TRIFED as per the guidelines for empanelment of suppliers.
  • TRIFED has been marketing tribal products through its Retail Outlets located across the country and also through exhibitions. It has established a chain of 35 own showrooms and 8 consignment showrooms in association with State level Organisations promoting tribal handicrafts.
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GS-III :
Researchers in Canada are using algae to develop CoVID 19 test kits

Researchers in Canada are using algae to develop CoVID 19 test kits

The team collaborated with Canadian integrated energy company Suncor to develop algae as a production factory to make necessary proteins to identify COVID-19 antibodies in someone previously infected with the disease.

The researchers noted that one of the limiting factors in developing large-scale serological testing is the ability to make significant quantities of the viral proteins on a cost-effective basis.
According to the researchers, algae are cheap to grow and can easily be engineered to produce the viral proteins.

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

Kashmir saffron, which is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry.

The spice is grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar.

The application was filed by the Directorate of Agriculture, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, and facilitated by the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, Kashmir, and Saffron Research Station, Dussu (Pampore).

Kashmir saffron is a very precious and costly product. Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor. With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market

About Kashmir Saffron

Kashmir saffron is renowned globally as a spice.

 It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.

It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.

The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).

It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over.

The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types‘Lachha Saffron’, with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing; ‘Mongra Saffron’, in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally; and ‘Guchhi Saffron’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread.

Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around 1st Century BCE. In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’.

Note: You can read the whole analysis about GI Tags @  https://www.aspireias.com/current-affairs/21-04-2020#1670

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