02 May, 2020
47 Min Read
|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|
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.
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.
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
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
Here's what all is allowed in Red Zones
What all is allowed in Orange Zones
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.
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?
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.
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).
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Global Energy Demands
CO2 Emissions and COVID
India’s Energy Demands
International Energy Agency
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
It mainly undertakes two functions viz. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development and Retail Marketing and Development.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development
Retail Marketing and Development
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.
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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