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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

16 Apr, 2021

28 Min Read

US imposed sanctions on Russia

GS-II : International Relations International issues

US imposed sanctions on Russia

  • The United States announced sanctions against Russia on Thursday and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin’s U.S. election interference, a massive cyberattack and other hostile activity.
  • President Joe Biden’s broadside against Russia came the same week as he offered to meet President Vladimir Putin for their first summit.
  • In an executive order, Mr. Biden widened restrictions on U.S. banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and blacklisted 32 individuals accused of meddling in the 2020 presidential election.
  • Mr. Biden’s order “sends a signal that the U.S. will impose costs in a strategic and economically impactful manner on Russia if it continues or escalates its destabilising international action,” the White House said.
  • Response ‘inevitable’
  • The Kremlin said on Thursday that sanctions would not “help” momentum for a summit and once the White House unveiled its measures, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned a Russian response was “inevitable.”

  • “The United States is not ready to come to terms with the objective reality that there is a multipolar world that excludes American hegemony,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
  • The latest tension comes amid worries both in the U.S. and its European allies over Russia’s recent troop build up on the border of Ukraine.
  • The imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, who is effectively the last open political opponent to Mr. Putin, has further spiked concerns in the West.
  • The White House statement listed in first place Moscow’s “efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the U.S. and its allies and partners.”
  • This referred to allegations that Russian intelligence agencies mounted disinformation and dirty tricks campaigns during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, in part to help Donald Trump’s candidacy.
  • The White House said the sanctions likewise respond to “malicious cyber activities against the U.S. and its allies and partners,” referring to the massive so-called SolarWinds hack of U.S. government computer systems last year.
  • The statement also called out Russia’s extraterritorial “targeting” of dissidents and journalists and undermining of security in countries important to U.S. national security.
  • In addition, the Department of Treasury, together with the EU, Australia, Britain and Canada, sanctioned eight individuals and entities associated with Russia’s occupation of Crimea in Ukraine.
  • In Brussels, the NATO military alliance said U.S. allies “support and stand in solidarity with the U.S., following its announcement of actions to respond to Russia’s destabilising activities”.

Source: TH

Digital Repository on Health, Nutrition- Poshan Gyan- Released

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

NITI Aayog has launched a platform named “Poshan Gyan”.

About Poshan Gyan:

  • Niti Aayog launched Poshan Gyan in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University.
  • It is a National Digital Repository on health and nutrition.

Key Features:

  1. It is a comprehensive online resource for anybody working in the nutrition sector in India.
  2. It is a collection of effective communication materials created by the government and other development organizations.
  3. It will also help in knowledge awareness and behaviour change in the nutrition sector.
  4. Moreover, the materials cover a range of topics, such as antenatal care, complementary feeding, adolescent health, diet diversity, anaemia prevention among others.
  5. It allows anyone to submit communication material for inclusion on the website followed by a review by a designated committee. Thus, the repository also has a unique crowdsourcing feature.

Poshan Abhiyaan

Poshan Abhiyaan, also known as the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), was launched in 2018 (although the programme was being implemented from 2017) by the Government of India with the aim of tackling the malnutrition problem prevalent in India.

Click here to read the complete topic on Poshan Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission (NNM): click here

Source: PIB

Online Grievance Management Portal for Scheduled Castes by NCSC

GS-II : Indian Polity Constitutional Bodies

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) recently launched an Online Grievance Management Portal for Scheduled Castes .in the country

About Online Grievance Management Portal:

  • The Portal will allow submission of complaints about atrocities against the Scheduled Castes. The portal also allows users to track the progress of their complaints.
  • It was developed in collaboration with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics(BISAG-N), a Centre of Excellence under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY).

About the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).

  • National Commission for Scheduled Castes(NCSC) is a constitutional body.
  • It was set up under Article 338 to safeguard the interests of the scheduled castes(SC) in India.

Evolution of the NCSC:

  • Originally, Article 338 of the Constitution provided for the appointment of a Special Officer for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
  • The special officer designated as the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • In 1978, the Government (through a Resolution) set up a non-statutory multi-member Commission for SCs and STs.
  • The Office of Commissioner for SCs and STs also continued to exist.
  • In 1987, the Government (through another Resolution) modified the functions of the Commission and renamed it the National Commission for SCs and STs.
  • Later, the 65th Constitutional Amendment Act provided for the establishment of a high-level multi-member National Commission for SCs and STs. It replaced the single Special Officer for SCs and STs.
    • This constitutional body replaced the Commissioner for SCs and STs as well as the Commission set up under the Resolution of 1987.
  • Again, the 89th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003 bifurcated the combined National Commission for SCs and STs into two separate bodies namely:
    • National Commission for Scheduled Castes (under Article 338) and
    • National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (under Article 338-A).

Composition:

  • The National Commission for SCs consists of a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, and three other members.
  • They are appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
  • The President also determines their conditions of service and tenure of office.

Functions of NCSC:

  • To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and other legal safeguards for the SCs and to evaluate their working;
  • To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the SCs;
  • Also, to participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the SCs and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union or a state;
  • To present the report on working of those safeguards to the President, annually.

Source: PIB

e-SANTA Marketplace

GS-III : Economic Issues Procurement

The Union Commerce and Industry Minister recently virtually inaugurated e-SANTA.

About e-SANTA:

  • e-SANTA stands for Electronic Solution for Augmenting NaCSA farmer’s trade in Aquaculture.
  • e-SANTA is an electronic marketplace providing a platform to connect aqua farmers and buyers.
  • The platform will also act as an alternative marketing tool between farmers & buyers by eliminating middlemen.

Benefits of e-SANTA Platform:

  • Enhances the life of Farmers: The platform will improve the lives & income of farmers by:
    1. Reducing Risk
    2. Awareness of Products & Markets
    3. Increase in Income
    4. Shielding Against Wrong Practice
    5. Ease of Processes.
  • Promotes Transparency: The platform promotes transparency as the process is completely paperless and an end-to-end electronic trade between Farmers and exporters.
  • Greater Control: The farmers have the freedom to list their products and quote their price. While the exporters have the freedom to list their requirements and also to choose the products based on their requirements.
  • The platform is available in many languages which will help the local population.

About National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture(NaCSA):

  • National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture is an extension arm of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Ministry of Commerce & Industry Govt. of India.
  • The objectives of NaCSA are to encourage and uplift the small and marginal farmers through the organization of clusters and maintaining Best Management Practices in shrimp culture.

PM Matsya Sampada Yojana

It is flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country as a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

It aims to:

  • Adopt ‘Cluster or Area-based Approaches’ and create fisheries clusters through backward and forward linkages.
  • Focus especially on employment generation activities such as seaweed and ornamental fish cultivation.
  • Address critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of the value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare.
  • Consolidate the achievements of the blue revolution and bring new interventions such as fishing vessel insurance, support for new/up-gradation of fishing vessels/boats, integrated aqua parks, e-trading/marketing, etc.

Targets:

  • Enhance fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne and increase fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.
  • Double the incomes of fishers and fish farmers.
  • Reduce post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10%.
  • Generate an additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in the fisheries sector and allied activities.

Budget and Time Period:

  • An estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crore for a period of 5 years from financial year (FY) 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories.
  • This investment is the highest ever in the fisheries sector yet.

Implementation: It will be implemented as an umbrella scheme with two separate components namely:

  • Central Sector Scheme: The project cost will be borne by the Central government.
  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme: All the sub-components/activities will be implemented by the States/UTs and the cost will be shared between Centre and State.

Source: PIB

Trade Facilitation Mobile App by DGFT

GS-III : Economic Issues Import / Export

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry has launched the Directorate General of Foreign Trade’s (DGFT) Trade Facilitation Mobile Application.

About Trade Facilitation Mobile Application:

  • Tata Consultancy Services(TCS) developed the Trade Facilitation Mobile Application. It is as per the directions of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
  • It aims to promote ease of doing business by providing quick access to information to importers/exporters.
  • The application will provide the following facilities:
    • Real-time trade policy updates and event notifications.
    • It provides options to explore Export-Import policies and statistics.
    • Virtual Assistance to trade-related queries.
    • It provides access to all the services provided by DGFT.
    • Raise and track help requests in real-time.
  • Tech-enabled governance will play a major role in determining India’s competitiveness, in the post-Covid world.
  • Thus, Initiatives like this, will significantly contribute to the achievement of India’s export target of $1 trillion by 2025 and GDP target of $5 trillion.

About the Directorate General of Foreign Trade(DGFT).

  • Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) was established in 1991.
  • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It is responsible for formulating and implementing the Foreign Trade Policy with the main objective of promoting India’s exports.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi

Source: PIB

2021- Raisina Dialogue

GS-II : International Relations International issues

The Prime Minister delivered a video address at the Inaugural Session of the Raisina Dialogue.

About Raisina Dialogue:

  • Raisina Dialogue is an annual multilateral conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation have been jointly organizing it since 2016.
  • The conference discusses cooperation on the most challenging international policy matters.
  • It involves a variety of global policymakers including heads of state, cabinet ministers, and local government officials.
    • In addition, the Dialogue also welcomes major private sector executives, as well as members of the media and academia.
  • The design of the dialogue follows Singapore’s Shangri-La Dialogue.
  • In 2021, the conference was hosted in a hybrid format with in-person conversations and digital discussions.
  • Theme for 2021: #ViralWorld: Outbreaks, Outliers, and Out of Control”.

Observer Research Foundation (ORF)

  • Observer Research Foundation (ORF) is an independent think tank based in New Delhi. It has three centres in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
  • It seeks to lead and aid policy thinking towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equitable world. Also, it aims to help discover and inform India’s choices.
  • It also carries Indian voices and ideas to forums shaping global debates.
  • It also provides non-partisan, well-researched analyses and inputs to diverse decision-makers in governments, business communities, and academia, and civil society around the world.

Source: TH

Indus and Ganges River Dolphins Detected to be 2 different species

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation

According to an analysis of the Indus and Ganges River dolphins, it was found they are not one but two separate different species.

What is the current classification?

  • Currently, Indus and Ganges River dolphins are classified as two subspecies under South Asian river dolphins(Platanista gangetica).

What has the analysis revealed?

  • The researchers examined the DNA samples of the Indus and Gangetic River Dolphins.
  • They found out that the Indus and Ganges river dolphins have clear genetic differences.
  • Also, there is a difference in the numbers of teeth, coloration, growth patterns, and skull shapes.
  • Hence, they concluded that the Indus River dolphin and the Ganges river dolphin are two separate different species.

About Gangetic River Dolphin:

  • Gangetic River Dolphin is primarily found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers and their tributaries in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
  • Habitat: They prefer deep waters in and around the confluence of rivers. They also act as an indicator of the health of the freshwater ecosystem as they can only live in freshwater.
  • Population: The population of the Ganges river dolphins is declining. As per estimates, several thousand individuals spread across rivers systems in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Status: Endangered
    • CITES: Appendix I (It means we cannot transfer any tissue or sample to foreign countries without getting CITES permission from the Competent Authority of Government of India)
    • Wildlife (Protection), Act 1972: Schedule 1
  • Threats:
    • Physical barriers such as dams and barrages created across the river have reduced the flow to a great extent making the species endangered.
    • The River flow is also declining very fast, Because, the river water is being diverted through the barrages and this has affected the dolphin habitats.
    • Mechanized boats are also causing accidental injury to the dolphins.

About Indus River Dolphin:

  • Indus Water Dolphin is a freshwater Dolphin. They are found in Pakistan and River Beas, a tributary of the Indus River in Punjab, India.
  • Population: The population of Indus River dolphins has achieved an impressive recovery over the last 20 years. Their numbers going up from approximately 1,200 in 2001 to almost 2,000 in 2017.
  • State Animal: Indus River Dolphin is the state aquatic animal of Punjab.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered

Source: TH

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