26 April, 2020
66 Min Read
|GS-II||Reverse quarantine||Government policies and interventions|
|IMMIGRATION BAN AND ITS IMPACT|
|New North American trade deal to come into effect in July-USMCA|
|GS-III||Chemicals and petrochemical industry became top exporting sector||Economic Issues|
|Border Road Organisation|
|UVC disinfection trolley:|
|UGC to suggest academic calendar||Economic Issues|
|Herbal Decongest Spray for masks-National Ayush Mission|
|Coronavirus | Why pathogens travel in search of a host|
|First merger of two black holes with unequal masses detected|
|PT Pointer||Immunity passport|
|RBI REPORT ON FOREX RESERVES||Economic Issues|
|Coronavirus plastic waste polluting the environment|
|DPIIT, CAIT join hands to enable kiranas’ foray into e-comm space||Economic Issues|
|Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020|
Part of: GS-II- Governance and Health (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Reserve quarantine is a practice of detaching the most vulnerable people, aged or people with co-morbidity conditions, from the rest and monitor their health indicators closely to protect them from infection. The government is working on it as part of its mutli pronged strategy against Covid 19.Through this, in case of a community spread, it can isolate its large volume of grey population and check their mortality rate effectively.
According to expert opinion, only reverse quarantine is effective until half of the population recovers from COVID-19 and gains immunity or a vaccine or medicine is developed. Government plans to implement reverse quarantine as soon as more lockdown measures are eased. Officials said the mechanism will be implemented through local bodies and they will be tasked with providing medicine, food, counselling and other assistance.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has shared a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with all telecom service providers regarding the application called COVID-19 Quarantine Alert System (CQAS).
United States President Donald Trump announced on Monday, on Twitter, that he would be using an executive order to suspend legal immigration into the U.S. for 60 days. The White House has indicated that the time limit could be extended depending on conditions on the ground.
Why has Mr. Trump taken such a step?
What does it mean for visa applicants?
Exemptions are given to:
Could there be any impact on skilled workers from India?
New North American trade deal to come into effect in July
Part of: GS-II- Interntional trade organisation (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The new deal is set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which US President Donald Trump claimed was unfair. It will come into force on July 1.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will come into effect on July 1, replacing the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the US Trade office said in a statement
US President Donald Trump had criticized NAFTA for being unfair towards US business, an assessment in which he was backed by multiple labor unions and economic populists. Even though overall economic output was receiving a boost with new employment opportunities, many believed that some well-paying jobs in the US were being lost.
The new deal has stricter labor laws that could move jobs from Mexico to the US or Canada. It also brings about changes to auto manufacturing, e-commerce, protection of intellectual property and more.
The USMCA was signed in November 2018, after Trump threatened to scrap NAFTA without a new deal in place. After some amendments, Mexico ratified the deal in December 2019, following which Trump signed it into law. The Canadian parliament was the last to adopt it in March this year.
USMCA trade deal
What’s new in the deal, and how big of an impact will it have?
USMCA headlining items from the new agreement:
1. Country of origin rules
Under the new deal, cars or trucks must have 75 percent of their components manufactured in Mexico, the US, or Canada to qualify for zero tariffs.
The goal is to boost auto parts manufacturing in North America by forcing car companies to use parts made here versus cheaper parts from Asia.
2. Labour provisions
The most striking difference from NAFTA involves protections for workers in all three countries.
The new agreement calls for 40 to 45 percent of automobile content to be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023. This provision specifically targets Mexico and is meant to bring wages there up to US and Canadian standards.
In addition, Mexico has agreed to pass laws giving workers the right to real union representation, to extend labor protections to migrants workers (who are often from Central America), and to protect women from discrimination.
These are much-needed reforms, and they address a lot of concerns that US labor unions have long had about NAFTA.
3. US farmers get more access to the Canadian dairy market
Canada uses what’s called a supply management system for dairy (and eggs and poultry), which closely regulates how much of each product can be produced and places strict tariffs and quotas on those items when they’re shipped into the country.
The US got Canada to open up its dairy market.
4. Intellectual property protections and digital trade provisions
This is a win for the United States. The new agreement extends the terms of copyright from 50 years beyond the life of the author to 70 years beyond the life of the author.
The USMCA aims to fix that by adding new provisions to deal with the digital economy — that is things like e-commerce and data.
These new digital provisions include things like no duties on products purchased electronically, such as music or e-books, and protections for internet companies so they’re not liable for content their users produce.
5. Canada preserves the special trade dispute mechanism and Investors can’t sue governments
In the original NAFTA, a provision known as Chapter 11 gave investors the ability to sue governments over changes to policies that they claim would harm future profits.
It’s been eliminated for the US and Canada and has been restricted in Mexico except for a few sectors, including energy.
Trump gets a win on his trade strategy — but what does it all mean?
Some changes are substantial, such as the provisions about automobiles, but the core of NAFTA remains intact.
They have fixed some of the problems with NAFTA, they have brought it up to date, they have expanded the scope of the agreement, but they have in no way fixed what seemed to be the fundamental problems of NAFTA by President Trump.
Because, USMCA has introduced digital trade protections and other updates, but it perhaps didn’t go far enough.
Many of the more forward-looking agreements, such as digital trade protections, were borrowed from the TPP. But, the question is how long this strategy can last, and whether it will work on harder trade deals, for instance with Japan and the European Union.
USMCA impact on India:
The biggest impact, according to the US trade officials, is going to be in the auto section that stipulates conditions such as manufacturing of greater portion of vehicles in the three countries and with high-wage labour in the US and Canada.
Announcing the USMCA, Mr Trump signalled he would now extend his ‘all or nothing’ approach to resetting trade ties with the European Union, China, Japan and India.
Terming India “the tariff king”, he said it had sought to start negotiations immediately.
India’s trade negotiators will now have their task cut out if they want to protect exporters’ access to one of the country’s largest markets for its services and merchandise.
Chemicals and petrochemical industry became top exporting sector
Part of: GS-III- Economy-data (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers has congratulated the chemicals and petrochemicals industry on becoming the top exporting sector of the country for the first time.
He informed that during April 2019 to January 2020, the export of chemicals grew by 7.43 per cent over previous corresponding period. The total export of chemicals during this period reached 2.68 lakh crore rupees which constitutes 14.35 per cent of the total exports.
Government assured the industry of full support towards making India a leading global hub for manufacturing chemicals and petrochemicals. He said, continuous efforts made by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals have enabled the industry to become the topmost exporting segment for the first time.
Draft Export Policy of India
The Commerce Ministry has released a product specific draft export policy.
ITC (HS) codes are better known as Indian Trade Clarification (ITC) and are based on Harmonized System (HS) of Coding.
About Export Import Policy of India
DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) is the main governing body in matters related to Exim Policy. The main objective of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act is to provide the development and regulation of foreign trade by facilitating imports into, and augmenting exports from India. Foreign Trade Act has replaced the earlier law known as the Imports and Exports (Control) Act 1947
Good Wishes Jai Hind
Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has opened Rohtang Pass (13,500 feet above sea level) today, more than three weeks in advance amid Covid-19 lockdown after clearing snow. It is the arterial road connecting Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh from rest of the country. The pass was opened on May 18, last year.
Himachal Pradesh Government had approached BRO to expedite the snow clearance to facilitate return of farmers for starting cultivation and movement of essential supplies and to bring relief materials to Lahaul Valley in wake of COVID-19.
How UV light sterilizes viruses and bacteria:
About the UVC trolley:
UGC to suggest academic calender
Part of: GS-III- Education (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Panels set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) have submitted recommendations on the revised academic calendar and suggestions for holding examinations at a time when the country is under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission’s members are likely to discuss the recommendations via video-conferencing and issue advisory guidelines for institutions of higher education by the middle of next week, according to UGC officials.
Meanwhile, Press Trust of India reported that a panel headed by Central University of Haryana Vice-Chancellor R.C. Kuhad had recommended that the new academic year begin in September instead of July. Another recommendation was that universities conduct their year-end examinations online if they had the resources to do so. If not, they should wait until the lockdown is lifted to set a date for the hand-written examinations.
No semester exams yet
Most colleges and universities have not yet held their semester examinations to close out the current academic year.
Another panel headed by Indira Gandhi National Open University Vice Chancellor Nageshwar Rao also submitted its report on improving online education in the midst of the lockdown.
Guidelines on these matters issued by the Commission would “not be binding, but only advisory in nature”.
University Grants Commission – UGC
The UGC was established in 1953 and made into a statutory organisation with the UGC Act in 1956.
The UGC has the unique distinction of being the only grant-giving agency in the country which has been vested with two responsibilities: that of providing funds and that of coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in institutions of higher education. The UGC’s mandate includes:
Other news releated to UGC
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a new initiative, Scheme for Trans-Disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy (STRIDE), to support socially relevant, local need-based, nationally important and globally significant research projects.
Components of the Scheme
Expected Benefits from the Scheme
2. Life will soon become easier for students migrating from one college to another or from another university. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a uniform academic calendar for all universities across the country. This would mean that results of all courses will be declared before June and classes for first year students shall commence by the first week of August.
Reasons for suffocation while wearing a mask:
Herbal Decongest spray:
CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow
National Ayush Mission
Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan for implementing through States/UTs. The basic objective of NAM is to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services, strengthening of educational systems, facilitate the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani & Homoeopathy (ASU &H) drugs and sustainable availability of ASU & H raw-materials. It envisages flexibility of implementation of the programmes which will lead to substantial participation of the State Governments/UT. The NAM contemplates establishment of a National Mission as well as corresponding Missions in the State level. NAM is likely to improve significantly the Department’s outreach in terms of planning, supervision and monitoring of the schemes.
Components of the Mission
Monitoring and Evaluation:
Claims were made of the virus being manufactured in laboratories and then shipped to nations to let loose on their populations. Conspiracy theories competed with each other like racy Hollywood plots at the box office. In a paper published on March 17, Nature Medicine busted the theory of a lab-cultured SARS-CoV-2. The paper, The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2, by Kristian G. Andersen, Andrew Rambaut, W. Ian Lipkin et al, made it clear that this was a case of zoonoses.
Why Nature Medicine claims Sars-Cov-2 is a naturally evolved virus rather than being manufactured in a lab?
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 60% of all infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, and about 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature. Emerging pathogens are more likely to be viruses, than any other kind — bacteria, parasites, fungi — and are more likely to have a broad host range.
Why are zoonotic diseases prevalent?
Why to preserve the ecosystem?
What about the plant kingdom?
Is ‘One Health’ the solution for this pandemic?
According to the World Health Organisation, ‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes.
The areas of work in which a ‘One Health’ approach is particularly relevant include food safety, the control of zoonoses, and combating antibiotic resistance (when bacteria change after being exposed to antibiotics and become more difficult to treat).
The concept helps practitioners understand disease determinants, manage risks and optimise interventions.
Climate scientists argue and epidemiologists agree that ‘One Health’ is a key principle for the control of zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety and vector-borne diseases.
The UNEP calls for strong global stewardship of nature and bio-diversity. Additionally, developing sharper, reliable early warning systems (for diseases), and a ‘One Health’ approach may be the guides for the road ahead.
What is the uniqueness of the merger of unequal black holes:
WHO caution against the idea of immunity passport
The World Health Organization is cautioning against the idea of immunity passports. It says there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected against a second infection.
The concept of immunity passports or risk-free certificates has been floated as a way of allowing people protected against reinfection to return to work.
WHO argues that people who assume they are immune to reinfection may ignore public health advice, and such certificates could raise the risks of continued virus transmission.
RBI REPORT ON FOREX RESERVES
According to the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India, in the reporting week ended April 17, foreign currency assets (FCA), a major component of the overall reserves, rose USD 1.55 billion to USD 441.88 billion.
The RBI data showed that gold reserves increased USD 1.54 billion to USD 32.68 billion in the reporting week. While, special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund,IMF were up by USD 3 million to USD 1.43 billion. The country's reserve position with the IMF remained stable at USD 3.58 billion during the reporting.
The Forex Reserves (‘foreign exchange reserves’) of an economy is its ‘foreign currency assets’ added with its gold reserves, SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) and Reserve Tranche in the IMF.
Special Drawing Rights
Coronavirus plastic waste polluting the environment
Gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are critical for those fighting the pandemic but are also widely used by the public. Still, because they're not always disposed of properly, environmentalists fear negative consequences for wildlife and the fight against plastic pollution.
As in the rest of Greece, residents of the coastal city are allowed out only in strict circumstances, including for short exercise and grocery shopping, but discarded gloves, wipes and bottles of sanitizer are strewn across parks, sidewalks and roads, as people try to protect themselves and others from infection.
The problem isn't confined to the small Greek city. Similar waste is causing problems in bigger metropolises such as New York and London.
And it has even hit the uninhabited Soko Islands. A few nautical miles from Hong Kong, Gary Stokes from the conservation group OceansAsia, found some 100 masks washed up over the course of three visits to the beach.
DPIIT, CAIT join hands to enable kiranas’ foray into e-comm space
The DPIIT has joined hands with CAIT for development of this platform, which, is expected to be launched in a staggered manner starting early next week.
Within days of retail giants Reliance Industries and Amazon India announcing their intent to accelerate their plans of onboarding local retailers and grocers, a group of retail traders has announced a tie-up with the Centre to launch a national e-commerce marketplace, which will help small retailers across the country take orders online.
The DPIIT is facilitating the conception and designing of the portal through its Startup India wing. This vast, and purely Indian, e-commerce portal will make all efforts to onboard about 7 crore traders of the country. Manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers of all verticals of domestic trade and consumers will be an integral part of this e-commerce platform.
Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020
The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) ? endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 ? is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities.
GVAP was the product of the DoV Collaboration, an unprecedented effort that brought together development, health and immunization experts and stakeholders. The leadership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, United States National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and WHO, along with all partners – governments and elected officials, health professionals, academia, manufacturers, global agencies, development partners, civil society, media and the private sector – are committed to achieving the ambitious goals of the GVAP. Many more are expected to add their support in the future as the plan is translated and implemented at the country and regional levels.
Source: WHO web
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