|41.||NITI Aayog launches National Nutrition Strategy|
The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog launched National Nutrition Strategy aimed at Kuposhan Mukt Bharat. It intends at bringing nutrition to centre-stage of National Development Agenda. It lays down roadmap for targeted action to address India’s nutritional needs.
In India, 20% of children under five years of age suffer from wasting due to acute under-nutrition. It pays an income penalty of 9 to 10% due to workforce that was stunted during their childhood. The NFHS-4 results shows decline in overall levels of under nutrition in both women and children. Currently, there is lack of real time measurement of nutritional determinants, which reduces capacity for targeted action among most vulnerable mothers and children.
National Nutrition Strategy
The national nutrition strategy calls for convergence between four proximate determinants of nutrition- uptake of health services, food, drinking water & sanitation and income & livelihoods. It envisages Kuposhan Mukt Bharat – linked to Swachh Bharat and Swasth Bharat.
The strategy lays down a roadmap for effective action, among both implementers and practitioners, in achieving our nutrition objectives. It enables states to make strategic choices, through decentralized planning and local innovation, with accountability for nutrition outcomes. It also gives prominence to demand and community mobilisation as key determinant to address India’s nutritional needs to bring behavioural change efforts to generate demand for nutrition services.
|42.||Health Ministry launches two new contraceptives|
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched two new free contraceptives Antara and Chayya in 10 states under Mission ParivarVikas, a central family planning initiative. These 10 states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi and Goa.
Antara is injectable contraceptive, effective for three months drug whereas Chayya is contraceptive pill, effective for one week. Both of contraceptives are safe and highly effective. They will be available for free in medical colleges and district hospitals in 10 states. The introduction of these new contraceptives will expand the basket of choices for country’s population to meet their family planning needs
Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS)
To help improve the supply and distribution of contraceptives, the health ministry recently had launched Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS), new software designed to provide robust information on demand and distribution of contraceptives to health facilities and ASHAs.
The mission aims to accelerate access to high quality family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies within a rights-based framework. Its main objective is to bring down Total Fertility Rate (TFR) to 2.1, which is when population of country starts stabilizing by 2025.
Its strategic focus is on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, ensuring commodity security and accelerating access to high quality family planning services. It will utilise RMNCH A strategy, FPLMIS and consumer friendly website on family planning.
The mission is being implemented in 146 high focus districts that house 44% of country’s population, with highest TFR of 3 and more in country. The high focus districts are in 7 states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
|43.||China bans Initial Coin Offering|
The People’s Bank of China (PBC), central bank of China has banned individuals and organisations from raising funds through initial coin offerings (ICO) saying that practice constituted illegal fund-raising.
The PBC notified that digital token financing and trading platforms are prohibited from doing conversions of coins with fiat currencies. Digital tokens cannot be used as currency on t market and banks are forbidden from offering services to ICOs.
Initial Coin Offering
ICO is an unregulated means of crowd funding for project via use of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin,DASH, Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin, Z-cash etc. The right of ownership or royalties of project is offered to investors in form of digital coins in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies. It means that ICO allows entrepreneurs create their own digital currencies and selling “coins” on the web under ICO route, allowing them to raise millions of dollars in a matter of minutes. The value of coin depends upon the success of business. Presently, there is no regulator for this kind of crowd sourcing.
|44.||Fact Box: The Code on Wages Bill, 2017|
The Union Government as part of labour law reforms has undertaken drive to rationalize 38 Labour Acts by framing 4 labour codes viz Code on Wages, Code on Social Security, Code on Industrial Relations and Code on occupational safety, health and working conditions. The codification of labour Laws will remove multiplicity of definitions and authorities leading to ease of compliance without compromising wage security and social security to workers.
The Code on Wages Bill, 2017
The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha recently. It subsumes and repeals 4 existing Laws, viz. Minimum Wages Act, 1948; Payment of Wages Act, 1936; Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and Payment of Bonus Act, 1965. It will apply to establishments where trade, business, manufacturing or occupation is carried out. It will also include government establishments.
Features of the Bill
National minimum wage: The code ensures minimum wages to one and all and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector of employment without any wage ceiling. It introduces concept of statutory National Minimum Wage for different geographical areas. It will ensure that no state government fixes minimum wage below the National Minimum Wages for that particular area as notified by Union Government. It specifies that central or state governments will revise or review minimum wage every five years.
Advisory boards: The central and state governments will constitute their respective advisory boards to advise respective governments on aspects of fixing minimum wages and increasing employment opportunities for women. These boards will have representation from employees, employers, and independent persons. Further, one-third of total members will be women.
Payment of Wages: The code proposes payment of wages through cheque or digital/electronic mode along with conventional cash payments. It mentions deduction of employee’s wages on certain grounds by not exceeding 50% of employee’s total wage.
Redressal of grievances and settlement of claims: It proposes appellate authority between Claim Authority and Judicial Forum for speedy, cheaper and efficient redressal of grievances and settlement of claims
Offences: The Code specifies penalties for offences committed by an employer. Such penalties vary depending on nature of offence have been rationalized with the amount of fines varying as per gravity of violations. Moreover it specifies that compounding of offences are not punishable by penalty of imprisonment.
|45.||Jharkhand Governor gives assent to Religious Freedom Bill, 2017|
Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu gave her assent to the Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill, 2017. The state government will now issue notification on the Religious Freedom Bill, after which it will become an Act.
With this Jharkhand, become seventh state in the country to have anti-conversion law. Other six states with similar law are Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Jharkhand Religious Freedom Bill, 2017
The Bill seeks to bring stringent anti-conversion law in place under which forceful or allurement induced religious conversion will be non-bailable criminal offence. It defines allurement for religious conversion and also includes religious conversion based on cash or economic benefits under the definition.
The Section 3 of Bill prohibits forceful conversion. The violation of this section will result in punishment upto 3 years imprisonment or Rs 50000 penalty or both. If the religious conversion crime involves a minor, woman or person from S ST community than prison term would be up to 4 years and a penalty of Rs.1 lakh.
The state assembly had passed this law inorder to prevent rampant religious conversions taking place in state. It was found that most of the religious conversions cases in the state were predominantly in tribal and backward communities lured by money or other benefits.
|46.||9th BRICS summit held in Xiamen, China|
The 9th BRICS summit was held in Xiamen, China. The theme of the summit was “Stronger Partnership for brighter Future”. It was for second time the summit was hosted in China after 2011 summit. At the end of summit, BRICS leaders adopted Xiamen declaration.
Four documents were signed in presence of BRICS Leaders. They are
Features of Xiamen declaration
Strive towards broad partnerships: BRICS countries agreed to strive towards broad partnerships with emerging markets and developing countries and pursue equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives for dialogue and cooperation with non-BRICS countries, including through BRICS Plus cooperation (It includes Thailand, Tajikistan, Egypt, Kenya and Mexico).
BRICS local currency bond markets: Member countries resolved to promote development of BRICS local currency bond markets and agreed to jointly establish a BRICS local currency bond fund and facilitate financial market integration. They will also encourage explorations toward the establishment of the BRICS Institute of Future Networks.
R&D and innovation in ITC: They agreed to enhance joint research, development and innovation in information and communications technology (ICT), including internet of things (IoT), big data, data analytics, cloud computing, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, 5G and their innovative applications.
Cooperation on energy: They agreed to strengthen BRICS cooperation on energy and work to foster open, flexible and transparent markets for energy commodities and technologies.
Promote effective use of fossil fuels: They also agreed to work together to promote most effective use of fossil fuels and wider use of gas, hydro and nuclear power to move towards low emission economy, better energy access and sustainable development.
BRICS Agriculture Research Platform: It is proposed to be established in India which will serve as virtual network facilitating cooperation in priority areas.
Broad counterterrorism coalition: They called upon international community to establish genuinely broad counterterrorism coalition and support UN’s central coordinating role in this regard.
People-to-People exchanges: It should be promoted for development and enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation among BRICS countries.
BRICS is acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies viz, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It was established in 2009. Originally it was known as BRIC before inclusion of South Africa in 2011. The first formal summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 2009.
BRICS countries are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs. They are home to 42% of the world’s population. Their total share in the global economy has risen from 12% to 23% in the past decade and collectively contribute they more than half of global growth.
|47.||HDFC Bank listed in Domestic Systemically Important Banks|
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has added HDFC Bank, the second largest private sector lender of country in list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). HDFC Bank is third bank in country to be added in list of D-SIBs after State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank which were added in 2016 and continue to be in that category.
Systemically Important Banks
SIBs are perceived as certain big banks in country. Since country’s economy is dependent upon these banks, they are perceived as ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’. There are two types of SIBs: Global SIBs, identified by BASEL committee on banking supervision and Domestic SIBs; identified by central Bank of country.
Following the global financial crisis of 2008, it was observed that problems faced by certain large and highly interconnected financial institutions hampered orderly functioning of financial system, which in turn, negatively impacted real economy.
As some of the banks are perceived as TBTF, they can lead to reckless practices on their part like increased risk-taking, reduction in its market discipline, creation of competitive distortions etc. because of expectation of government support them at time of distress. All this can increase probability of distress in future.
Therefore, it is required recognition of these banks as SIBs and subjected to additional policy measures to deal with systemic risks and moral hazard issues posed by them. They are forced to have additional capital against financial emergency, so that taxpayer money not wasted in rescuing them during crisis.
RBI Framework for dealing with D-SIBs
RBI had started listing D-SIBs from August 2015 after it had issued Framework for dealing with D-SIBs in July 2014. D-SIB Framework requires RBI to disclose names of banks designated as D-SIBs every year in August starting from August 2015.
The framework also requires that D-SIBs may be placed in four buckets depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs). Based on bucket in which D-SIB is placed, an additional common equity requirement has to be applied to these listed banks, as mentioned in Framework.
In case foreign bank having branch presence in India is Global-SIB, it has to maintain additional CET1 capital surcharge in India as applicable to it as a G-SIB, proportionate to its Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs) in India under the D-SIB Framework.
Identification of D-SIBs
The D-SIB Framework specifies a two-step process of identification of D-SIBs. In first step, sample of banks to be assessed for systemic importance has to be decided. The selection of banks in sample for computation of SIS is based on analysis of their size as a percentage of annual GDP.
Moreover, additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) requirements are also applicable to D-SIBs from April 1, 2016 in phased manner and will be fully effective from April 1, 2019. The additional CET1 requirement will be in addition to the capital conservation buffer.
|48.||Government forms task force for speedy implementation Namami Gange|
The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted task force for speedy implementation of various ongoing Namami Gange programme.
The task force is expected to have ministers and officials from water resources, urban development, drinking water and sanitation and rural development among others onboard.
Namami Gange programme
Namami Gange programme is an ambitious flagship programme of Union Government aiming at integrating various efforts to clean and protect River Ganga in comprehensive manner. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2015.
The programme aims at Ganga rejuvenation by combining the existing ongoing efforts and planning under it to create a concrete action plan for future. It has budgetary outlay of Rs.20,000 crore to accomplish twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of River Ganga. It will cover 8 states, 47 towns and 12 rivers under project.
The main pillars of programme are sewerage treatment infrastructure, river-front development, river-surface cleaning, bio-diversity, afforestation, public awareness, industrial effluent monitoring and ganga gram. It also seeks to benefit vast population dependent on River Ganaga in terms of job creation, improved livelihoods and health benefits.
Its implementation has been divided into entry-level activities for immediate visible impact, medium-term activities to be implemented within 5 years of time frame and Long-Term Activities to be implemented within 10 years. It also endeavours to deploy best available knowledge and resources international countries that have expertise in river rejuvenation such as Australia, UK, Germany, Finland, Israel etc.
|49.||Surya Kiran: Indo-Nepal joint Military exercise|
The 12th edition of India-Nepal joint military exercise- Surya Kiran XII was held at Nepal Army Battle School (NABS) in Saljhandi, Nepal.
The 14 day exercise (from 3 to 16 September 2017) focused on skills required counter-terrorism and counter-terror, forest fighting and natural disaster management operations.
In this edition of exercise, Indian Army was represented by troops of Kumaon Scouts and Narayan Dal Battalion participated on behalf of Nepal Army. Both troops focused on the various counter insurgency operations. They also focused on important aspects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations and environmental conservation. The exercise mutually benefited both armies by gaining varied experiences and also strengthened friendly relation between India and Nepal.
The Surya Kiran series of bilateral military exercises are conducted bi-annually, alternatively in India and Nepal. It is largest exercise in terms of troop’s participation in series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries. It aims at promoting military relations and increasing interoperability armies of neighbouring countries. The 11 edition of the exercise was held in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand in March 2017.
|50.||Disability pension for defence forces at par with civilians: Government|
The Union Government has accepted recommendations of National Anomaly Committee (NAC) to maintain disability pension for defence forces in parity with civilians under 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
With acceptance of recommendations of NAC, Government will not go ahead with new disability pension parity regime recommended by 7th CPC and continue earlier system of disbursing disability pension.
The armed forces were pressing for reverting to percentage-based regime for disability pension and were strongly opposed to slab-based system conceived by 7th CPC. They felt that new slab-based system would result in reduction in amount of disability pension for existing as well as future retirees compared to percentage-based disability pension. They were also upset as civilian pensioners were to be paid pension according to earlier percentage system. To address the issue, Defence Ministry had referred this matter to NAC to decide methodology for calculation of disability element of disability pension under 7th CPC.
Complaint and Litigation Reduction Scheme
The Ex-Servicemen Health Contributory Scheme (ECHS) has launched Complaint and Litigation Reduction Scheme (CLRS) for grievance redressal of veterans and their dependents. It will assist Defence Ministry to increase focus on formulation of caring policy and implementation initiatives preserving time and resources of our veterans who have served the nation.