Daily Current Affairs March 07 2020
From Mains Topic – GS PAPER -II – Fundamental rights, fundamental duties and Directive Principles
Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010
Recently, SC held that the Central government cannot brand an organisation ‘political’ and deprive it of its right to receive foreign funds for using “legitimate forms of dissent” like bandh, hartal, road roko or jail ‘bharo’ to aid a public cause.
What is Foreign Contribution Regulation Act?
The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and rules framed under it (the “FCRA” or “Act”) regulate the receipt and usage of foreign contribution by non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”) in India.
The intent of the Act is to prevent use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activity detrimental to the national interest.
It has a very wide scope and is applicable to a natural person, body corporate, all other types of Indian entities (whether incorporated or not) as well as NRIs and overseas branches/subsidiaries of Indian companies and other entities formed or registered in India.
It is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
The act Prohibits acceptance and use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by a certain specified category of persons such as a candidate for election, judge, journalist, columnist, newspaper publication, cartoonist and others.
It also regulates the inflow to and usage of foreign contribution by NGOs by prescribing a mechanism to accept, use and report usage of the same.
What is the Issue now?
Recently central Govt has acted against a number of NGOs by cancelling their FCRA license and also against a number of organisations which led protests against CAA and conduct other anti-govt activities.
SC held that central Govt cannot act against an organisation only because it dissented against it by terming it a political organisation. Political organisations are banned from accepting foreign funds under FCRA.
Illegal funding by NGOs must be banned, but at the same time it must not stifle the activities of legitimate NGOs which contribute to development activities.
Govt must not use FCRA regulations to stifle dissent as dissent is the lifeline of democratic societies.
From Mains Topic – GS Paper II – India’s Foreign Policy
India -US Trade relations
Recently, US trade representative told media that US govt is planning to exclude India from the list of developing nations and to include it in the list of developed nation.
Issues with India-US relations
Indian IPR Policy – Section 3(d) of Indian patents act restricts ever greening. Further, Indian patent framework does not provide data exclusivity. Detrimental to US Pharma industry.
Price control on medical devices – Price caps on devices like stents etc. criticised by US as other developing countries can follow suit.US push for margin rationalisation instead of price cap.
Data Localisation of Financial service companies – RBI’s recent regulation requires financial service companies to store Data locally within 6 months. Affects BPO sector of India.
Steel Tariff by US – increased by US and India moved WTO & imposed retaliatory tariffs.
Slow pace of defence agreements, purchase of UAV (predator-B), NASAMS II missiles.
Generalised system of preferences – Trump took India out of it. The system accounts for $5.6 bn worth import of India to US, India is the largest beneficiary of this system.
Countering America’s Adversaries through sanctions Act – US law which mandates santions on Russia/Iran & countries that have significant trade relations with Russia/Iran.US is pressing India to scale down its defence cooperation with Russia & oil import from Iran. India got waiver recently in the case of Russian sanctions.
Recent trump visit has resulted in number of defence agreements such as the purchase of Multi-role helicopter by India.
India-US interests converge in their India-pacific policy.US sees India as a strategic partner to counter Chinese influence.
Narrowing trade deficit between India and US due to increased purchase of natural gas by India from US.This is one of major focal point of Mr. Trump.
With its large society with considerable purchasing power,US is a big market for India and India must forces on improving its relations with it.At the same time Indian govt must adopt a policy which has minimal negative impacts on domestic economy while opening its market for US products.
From Mains Topic – GS – PAPER -III – Unemployment – trends, Structure and National Rural Employment policies
Employment generation in India
Recently many experts in India, pointed out that the current budget does minimum to generate employment in India.
What is the Issue?
India is witnessing a slowdown of its economy and registered a growth of 4.5% in the recent quarter. This scenario is detrimental to the much need employment generation in the country.
The recently released Periodic labour force survey has cited that unemployment in India is at a 45 year high at 6.1%.
It also says that Proportion of organised workers increased and also Labour force participation rate decreased from 55% to 49% b/w 2011-12 & 2017-18.
Importance of Employment generation
India has large working age population which experts call demographic dividend.Generating employment for this large sections of population is important for economic growth.
Indian economy has witnessed reduced growth largely because of demand squeeze.Employment to more people can rejuvenate demand in the economy.
Employment generation can have socio-political dividends with greater access to education and health facilities to more and more people.Also it will bring much needed socio-political stability.
It is important for inclusive growth.
Govt must focus on participatory initiatives such as MGNREGA for employment generation.This will improve the demand situation in the economy thereby bring in more private investment to generate employment.
Skill upgradation is another area to be focussed upon.Industrial skills with emphasis on emerging technology will make more and more youth employable.
Improving ease of doing business in India.This will bring in much needed private investment from both domestic & foreign players thereby generating employment.
MAINS PAPER II – Panchayati Raj, Public Policy and Governance, Impact of L.P.G on Governance
PRADHAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJANA (PMUY) – A KEY PLAYER IN WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has been one of the biggest achievements towards women empowerment.
BACKGROUND OF PMUY:
India is home to more than 24 Crore households out of which about 10 Crore households are still deprived of LPG as cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung – cakes etc. as primary source of cooking. The smoke from burning such fuels causes alarming household pollution and adversely affects the health of Women & children causing several respiratory diseases/ disorders. As per a WHO report, smoke inhaled by women from unclean fuel is equivalent to burning 400 cigarettes in an hour.
PRADHAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJANA (PMUY):
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.
Under this scheme, 5 Cr LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs.1600 per connection in the next 3 years. Ensuring women’s empowerment, especially in rural India, the connections will be issued in the name of women of the households. Rs. 8000 Cr. has been allocated towards the implementation of the scheme. Identification of the BPL families will be done through Socio Economic Caste Census Data. PMUY is likely to result in an additional employment of around 1 Lakh and provide business opportunity of at least Rs. 10,000 Cr. over the next 3 Years to the Indian Industry.
OBJECTIVES OF THE SCHEME ARE:
- Empowering women and protecting their health.
- Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
- Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
- Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT THROUGH PMUY:
Thus spoke Maharishi Manu:
“Yatra Naryasthu Pujyante
Ramante Tatra Devatham
yatraitaastu na pujyante
Where Women are honoured there blossoms divinity and where women are dishonoured, all actions, however noble, will remain unfruitful.
Empowerment of women is closely linked with the country’s energy economy and this goal is driving investments in the entire value chain. As a measure towards empowerment of poor women in the country who are bereft of access to clean cooking gas, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the form of a social movement, enabling social change and irreversible empowerment of women.
- LPG coverage has increased from 55% to 97.4%.the scheme has acted as one of the biggest catalyst of socio-economic change in the status of women in the country.
- Household pollution has been a reason of health hazard, which has been curbed with the availability of safe and environment friendly LPG fuel to poor women of the society.
- To hasten women’s empowerment, especially in rural India, the connections will be issued in the name of women of the households.
- Apart from solving the health issues, it has given them spare time, which can be put to better use for other activities to bring a change in the life of the household members or generate additional income.
- According to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, two persons die prematurely every minute in India due to indoor pollution, PMUY could ensure the longitivity of the women and their loved ones, thereby it sustains the happiness of women.
Government of India has been at the forefront of promoting women empowerment as the engine of economic growth and has introduced path breaking initiatives. The paradigm shift has been from women’s development to women led development. As it is said: “A strong woman stands up for herself. A stronger woman stands up for everyone else.”
Recognizing the importance of women and their contribution to society, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas reaffirms its commitment for ‘economic empowerment’, ‘self-reliance’ and ‘social equality’ of women across the country, through the successful implementation of Pradhan Mantri Ujjuala Yojana.
MAINS PAPER – II (B) Science and Technology
TOTAL DIGITAL LITERACY DRIVE – AN ESSENTIAL PERIPHERAL FOR FUTURE LIFE.
Kerala is to launch a massive total digital literacy campaign ensuring that the benefits of the state’s emergence as an inclusive knowledge based society reaches down to the grassroots.
Digital literacy simply means having the skills you need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices.
A rough set of skills that a digitally literate person should have would be the ability to switch on and off a computing device, understanding operating systems, files, folders and drives, ability to use office applications and media applications, ability to use Internet for emailing, accessing websites and engage in social networking. It is only through achievement of a universalisation of this digital literacy that one can ensure that people have the necessary power to leverage on the unfolding IT revolution.
At the same time, Kerala meets some of the necessary conditions to be able to exploit Information Technology for betterment of society. This includes the high literacy rates, 100 percent electrification and high levels of broadband access. Therefore, enabling more and more people to use and benefit from Information Technology is a challenge that can be taken on by various actors from the public and private sectors.
TOTAL DIGITAL LITERACY DRIVE:
Powered by Kerala State IT Mission and Kerala Literacy Mission, the campaign, ‘I am also digital’, will be based on the participatory model by roping in resource persons and instructors down to the civic ward level across the State. The programme aims at enabling citizens to enjoy the benefits of digital technology, including a spectrum of online services, and educate people about cybersecurity issues in the context of the spurt in cybercrimes.
The campaign seeks to create public awareness about e-governance and equip citizens to make use of various digital platforms through which a wide array of services are being delivered, said a press note quoting the IT Mission. Educating people on the increasing significance of social media and equipping them to be on guard against their misuse for mischievous purposes like spreading fake news will be part of the programme.
People from all walks of life, including government staff, college students and socially concerned individuals associated with organisations in the public domain, will be drafted into the campaign as trainees.
If the government could implement this programme successfully this could bring a revolutionary outcome in terms of electronic transactions, helps the successful implementation of e-governance, preventing cybercrimes along with strengthening cyber security and will result in massive technological and economical outcomes which will ensure high status of the state apart from literacy status.