Home   »   Daily Important Articles for UPSC   »   Daily Important Articles for UPSC

Today’s (24-05-2022) News Diary

QUAD

In News: The second in-person summit of the QUAD grouping will be held today in Tokyo.

About Quad?

  • Formally the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Quad began as a loose partnership after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, when the four countries joined together to provide humanitarian and disaster assistance to the affected region.
  • It was formalised by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007, but then fell dormant for nearly a decade, particularly amid Australian concerns that its participation in the group would irritate China.
  • The group was resurrected in 2017, reflecting changing attitudes in the region toward China’s growing influence.
  • Both the Trump and Biden administrations saw the Quad as key to a pivot toward placing more focus on the Indo-Pacific region, particularly as a counterweight to China’s assertive actions.
  • The Quad leaders held their first formal summit in 2021 and met again virtually in March.

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)

In News: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in an event in Tokyo to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

Key elements envisaged within the IPEF

  • The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic partnership amongst participating countries with the objective of enhancing resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Initial Partners-Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Together, they represent 40% of world GDP.
  • The announcement of IPEF is a declaration of a collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth.
  • Four key pillars to establish high-standard commitments that will deepen our economic engagement in the region:
    • Connected Economy
    • Resilient Economy
    • Clean Economy
    • Fair Economy

Green Hydrogen

In News: The Indian delegation led by Piyush Goyal at Davos discussed how the financial institution can further complement the government’s sustainable growth agenda.

What is green hydrogen?
  • Water is made of one hydrogen and two oxygen atoms. Without contamination, water mostly contains only these two elements. Green hydrogen is regular hydrogen obtained by separating hydrogen and oxygen molecules of water by using only renewable energy.
  • Green hydrogen is made by a process called electrolysis. It means when we run an appropriate amount of electric current through water, it separates hydrogen and oxygen.
  • However, the energy used in electrolysis must be renewable of clean energy, which will not release any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Use of green hydrogen
  • According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2018, the demand for hydrogen has tripled since 1975. The consumption of hydrogen reached 70 million tonnes in 2018.
  • It has been used to fuel cars, spaceships, and industries, among other areas. However, the usage of green hydrogen in industries is very low.
India’s National Hydrogen Mission
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a National Hydrogen Mission in 2021 to make India a hub of green hydrogen production and export. India intends to become self-reliant in energy and inspire clean energy transition across the world.
  • India’s OIL (Oil India Limited) established the country’s first pure green hydrogen plant in Assam.
  • Conglomerates like Reliance Group and Adani Group have also announced plans to enter green hydrogen production.
  • Adani Group plans to invest $70 billion to become the world’s largest renewable energy company.

ILO

In News: The “world of work” is being buffeted by multiple crises, says the ninth edition of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Monitor.

About ILO

  • It was created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
  • The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
  • The main aims of the ILO are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.

ILO Monitor 9th Report

The report gives a global overview of how countries are tackling an uneven labour market recovery that has been further undermined by developments such as the Russian aggression against Ukraine, increases in inflation, and continuing strict COVID-19 containment measures.

World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • GS Paper 2: International Relations- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

World Economic Forum (WEF) in News

  • Recently, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles will lead the team India at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos from 23-25 May 2022.

India at World Economic Forum (WEF) 2022 Meeting

  • It would further help reinforce India’s position as an important and relevant stakeholder in shaping the global narrative, particularly as India assumes presidency of the G-20 in 2023.
  • The WEF will also be a platform to project India as an attractive investment destination in view of its robust economic growth and stable macroeconomic indicators.
  • This year coincides with the World Economic Forum’s 50th anniversary and 35 years of the Forum’s collaboration with India which would provide an opportunity for India to showcase its unified presence including the centre and states.
  • To mark 75 years of Independence and ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, DPIIT has taken the initiative to have a consolidated marquee India presence at World Economic Forum, Davos from 22-26 May 2022.
    • Alongside the India Lounge, a State Lounge has also been set up.

World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • About: World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international non-governmental and lobbying organization.
    • Klaus Schwab is credited to have founded World Economic Forum (WEF) on 24, 1971.
    • It is recognized as the international institution for public-private cooperation by the Swiss government.
  • WEF Headquarters: World Economic Forum (WEF) is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Funding: World Economic Forum (WEF) is mostly funded by its 1,000 member companies.
  • Mandate: WEF is committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

WEF Annual Meeting 2022

  • About: The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2022 will embody the World Economic Forum’s philosophy of collaborative, multi-stakeholder impact.
  • Mandate: WEF Annual meeting provides a unique collaborative environment in which to reconnect, share insights, gain fresh perspectives, and build problem-solving communities and initiatives.
    • Against a backdrop of deepening global frictions and fractures, it will be the starting point for a new era of global responsibility and cooperation.
  • WEF Annual Meeting Theme: WEF Annual Meeting Content is split across 8 key themes that allow you to explore the diverse topics addressed during the meeting.

PM-YUVA Scheme

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

PM-YUVA Scheme

  • About: PM-YUVA scheme for young writers was launched by the government under the guidelines of the New Education Policy (NEP 2020).
    • PM-YUVA scheme is expected to empower the youth of the country by creating a learning ecosystem.
    • PM-YUVA Scheme will be in tune with Hon’ble PM’s vision of Global Citizen and establish India as a Vishwa Guru.
  • Implementing Agency: The National Book Trust, India as the Implementing Agency will ensure phase-wise execution of the PM-YUVA Scheme under well-defined stages of mentorship.
  • Eligibility: Under the PM-YUVA scheme, training is provided to 75 aspiring writers below 30 years.
    • The young authors so mentored shall become proficient in writing in various genres like fiction, non-fiction, travelogues, memoirs, drama, poetry and so on.
  • Goal: The PM-YUVA Yojana envisions cultivating modern ambassadors of Indian literature as the country heads towards 75 years of independence.
    • India is ranked 3rd in the arena of book publishing, and to further boost this treasure trove of indigenous literature.
    • PM-YUVA Yojana aims to take this on the global stage.

Selection Procedure of Young Authors in PM-YUVA

  • A total of 75 authors will be selected through an All-India Contest at MyGov.
  • The selection will be made by a committee to be constituted by NBT.
  • Last date of submission 31st July 2021.
  • The contestants will be asked to submit a manuscript of 5,000 words to judge its suitability to develop as a proper book under the Mentorship Scheme.
  • The names of selected authors will be announced on the occasion of Independence Day on 15th August 2021.
  • Based on mentorship, the selected authors will prepare manuscripts for final selection under the guidance of the nominated mentors.
  • The entries of the winners will be readied for publication by 15th December 2021.
  • The published books may be launched on 12th January 2022 on YUVA DIVAS or National Youth Day.

Salient Features of the PM-YUVA Scheme

  • A contest was organized to select seventy-five young authors.
    • The theme of the contest was ‘National Movement of India’ with ‘Unsung Heroes’, “Role of Unknown Places in Freedom Movement’ etc. as focus areas.
  • The contestants were asked to submit a manuscript of 5000 words to judge their suitability to develop as a proper book under the mentorship scheme.
  • Proposals were invited in all twenty-two scheduled languages and English
  • The selection was made by a committee constituted by National Book Trust (NBT).
  • Mentors have been assigned to guide and develop the selected proposals into full-fledged books.
  • A consolidated scholarship of Rs. 50,000 per month for a period of six months per author is to be paid under the mentorship scheme.
  • 10% royalty to be paid by NBT on publication and sale of the books.

Expected Outcomes of the PM-YUVA Yojana

  • PM-YUVA scheme will help not only develop a stream of writers who can write on a spectrum of subjects to promote Indian heritage, culture and knowledge.
  • PM-YUVA yojana will also provide a window for the aspiring youth to articulate themselves in their mother tongue and represent India at an international level.
  • Under the PM-YUVA Scheme, selected books are translated into different Indian languages to ensure the exchange of Indian culture and literature in order to promote `Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’.
  • It will make sure to bring reading and authorship as a preferred profession at par with other job options, making the children of India take reading and knowledge as an integral part of their grooming up years.
  • In addition, it will bring a positive psychological push to the young minds given the impact and effect of the recent pandemic on the mental health of children.

BioRRP 

  • GS 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Context

  • Recently, Ministry of Science and Technology has launched a single National portal for biotech researchers and start-ups.

Key points

  • The Portal “BioRRAP” (Biological Research Regulatory Approval Portal) will cater to all those seeking regulatory approval for biological research & development activity in the country and thus aims for “Ease of Science as well as Ease of Business”.
  • The portal is in line with the government’s objective of ‘One-Nation One-Portal’.
  • The Portal will also allow stakeholders to see the approvals accorded against a particular application through a unique BioRRAP ID.
  • This portal will strengthen interdepartmental synergies and bring accountability, transparency and efficacy in functioning of agencies regulating various aspect of biological research and issuing permission.

Significance of BioRRP

  • The portal is a step towards Ease of Doing Science and Scientific research and Ease of Start-ups in India.
  • At present there is no mechanism to track the requisite regulatory approval for a research proposal on a single portal.
  • BioRRP will provide more credibility and recognition to such biological researches. Under this portal each research, requiring regulatory oversight, will be identified by a unique ID called “BioRRAP ID”.
  • It will also serve as a gateway and will help researcher to see stage of approval of their applications for regulatory clearances and to see preliminary information on all the research work being undertaken by the particular researcher and/or organization.

Biotechnology in India

  • India is poised to become a Global Bio-manufacturing Hub and will figure among the top 5 countries of the world by 2025.
  • Bio-technology has fast emerged as an academic and livelihood avenue for youngsters in India.
  • Other than biotechnology, biological work related to biodiversity, latest methods of conservation and protection of flora and fauna, forest and wildlife, bio-survey and bio-utilization of biological resources are also gaining momentum in India due to effect of climate change on them.
  • Many of these research falls under the purview of one or more regulatory agencies which first approve the research proposal after which researcher undertakes that specific research.
  • India is among the top 12 destinations for biotechnology globally and 3rd largest biotechnology destination in the Asia Pacific region.
  • By 2025, the contribution of the Indian biotechnology industry in the global biotechnology market is expected to grow to 19% from a mere 3% in 2017.
  • The Bio Economy’s contribution to the national GDP has also grown steadily in the past years to 7% in 2020 from 1.7% in 2017 and will touch new heights after 25 years of Bio-economy journey in the Centenary year of 2047.

Aspirational Districts Programme

Introduction

  • Launched by the Hon’ble PM in January 2018, the Aspirational Districts programme aims to quickly and effectively transform 117 most under-developed districts across the country.
  • NITI Aayog has identified 117 districts as Aspirational Districts based on their performance in 49 Key Performance Indicators across five themes namely health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development and basic infrastructure.
  • ADP is based on 3Cs – the ‘Convergence, Competition and Collaboration’ approach.

Key Points

  • The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts through monthly delta ranking; all driven by a mass movement.
  • With States as the main drivers, this program focuses on the strength of each district, identifying low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement and measuring progress by ranking districts on a monthly basis.
  • The ranking is based on the incremental progress made across 49 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) under 5 broad socio-economic themes – Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development and Infrastructure.
  • The delta-ranking of Aspirational Districts and the performance of all districts is available on the Champions of Change Dashboard.
  • Another focus of the programme is to further dive into the progress at the block level within each district. The districts are encouraged to monitor the progress of the blocks that lead to the overall improvement of the district.
  • The Aspirational Districts Programme essentially is aimed at localizing Sustainable Development Goals, leading to the progress of the nation.

Institutional arrangement for the programme

  • At Government of India level, programme is anchored in NITI Aayog. In addition, individual Ministries have been given responsibility to drive progress of districts.
  • For each district, a central Prabhari officer of the rank of Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary has been nominated.
  • States have been requested to form a committee under Chief Secretary to implement the programme. States have also nominated nodal officers and also State level Prabhari officer.

Core Strategy of ADP

  • The core strategy in the program may be summarised as:
    • States as main drivers
    • Work on the strength of each district.
    • Make development as a mass movement in these districts.
    • Identify low hanging fruits by identifying the strength of the districts so that this can work as a catalyst for development.
    • Measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition.
    • Districts to aspire: from becoming States’ best to Nation’s best.

Areas of Focus

This programme is for overall transformation of the district using mass movement approach. Different districts have different strength and weakness and detail of district level plans would vary. At the same time, to keep the approach focussed, the programme seeks to focus in following sectors as these are important for all districts:

  • Health and Nutrition
  • Education
  • Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Financial inclusion and skill development
  • Basic Infrastructure including access to road, potable water, rural electrification and individual household toilets.

Key achievements

  • Aspirational Districts in the country have witnessed significant progress in key development areas in the last four years.
  • A comparison between the Aspirational Districts and their counterparts found that ADs have outperformed non-ADs.
  • The partnership among district teams and regular outreach programmes have played a key role in this rapid improvement.
  • This programme has proved to be a standout example of data-driven governance and the ranking of districts across key social parameters has played a vital role in their transformation.
  • Many NGOs, development partners, and members of civil society have collaborated actively, especially during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that the outreach objectives of the Aspirational Districts programme continue to reach the last mile.

ILO Monitor 2022

Relevance 

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

9th Edition of ILO Monitor 2022 in News

  • Recently, the 9th Edition of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Monitor Report was released.
  • 9th Edition of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Monitor says that the “world of work” is being buffeted by multiple crises.

Key Findings of ILO Monitor 2022

  • Reduced number of Work: The ILO report says that after significant gains during the last quarter of 2021, the number of hours worked globally dropped in the first quarter of 2022, to 3.8% below the employment situation before the pandemic.
  • Job loss: About 11.2 crore jobs might have lost between pre pandemic and first quarter of 2022, according to the ILO Monitor report.
  • Other reasons for Unemployment: The fresh lockdowns in China, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and the global rise in the prices of food and fuel are cited as the main reasons for the ILO Monitor 2022 findings.

ILO Monitor 2022 on Gender Gap in Employment

  • The gender gap in India’s employment scenario is mentioned in the report on the “world of work”.
  • The report said both India and lower-middle-income countries excluding India experienced a deterioration of the gender gap in work hours in the second quarter of 2020.
    • However, because the initial level of hours worked by women in India was very low, the reduction in hours worked by women in India has only a weak influence on the aggregate for lower-middle-income countries.
    • In contrast, the reduction in hours worked by men in India has a large impact on the aggregates.
  • Exacerbating the existing gap: the pandemic seems to have exacerbated the already substantial gender imbalances in employment participation in the country
    • In India, for every 100 women at work prior to the pandemic, 12.3 women would have lost their job as an average through the entire period considered by the report.
    • In contrast, for every 100 men, the equivalent figure would have been 7.5.

ILO Monitor 2022- Major threats to Unemployment

  • Financial turbulence, potential debt distress and global supply chain disruption points at a growing risk of a further deterioration in hours worked in 2022, as well as a broader impact on global labour markets in the months to come.
  • Inequality: A “great and growing divergence between richer and poorer economies” continues to characterise the recove
    • While high-income countries experienced a recovery in hours worked, low- and lower-middle-income economies suffered setbacks in the first quarter of the year.

Foreign universities in India

Relevance

  • GS 2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context

  • India is changing its philosophy of Swadeshi in higher education, which is evident in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that promises higher education reforms in many areas, and internationalisation is prominent among them.

Foreign institution in India: A recent example

  • Gujarat Biotechnology University: The Gujarat Biotechnology University is an example for new models of international academic partnerships emerging in India.
    • It was established by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of Gujarat in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, which assists the institution in developing strategies with regard to teaching, learning, research and innovation, and quality assurance, among others.

Foreign universities in India

  • Currently, India does not allow the entry and the operation of foreign university branch campuses.
  • The NEP 2020 was a turning point for the entry of foreign universities as it recommended allowing foreign universities ranked in the “top 100” category to operate in India.
  • In the Budget 2022 it was announced that “world-class foreign universities and institutions would be allowed in the planned business district in Gujarat’s GIFT City and they would be free from domestic regulations to facilitate availability of high-end human resources.
  • NEP 2020 recommended that only the “top 100” category will be allowed to operate in India.
  • Union Minister of State, Ministry of Education has noted that two foreign institutions, from France and Italy, had expressed interest in setting up campuses in India.

Current initiatives

  • A joint PhD programmes offered by the IIT Bombay-Monash Research Academy and the University of Queensland-IIT Delhi Academy of Research (UQIDAR), both with Australian partners.
  • Melbourne-India Postgraduate Academy (MIPA) is a joint initiative of the IISc Bangalore, the IIT Madras, the IIT Kanpur and the IIT Kharagpur with the University of Melbourne. It provides students with an opportunity to earn a joint degree accredited both in India and Australia.

Challenges

  • Currently, India is the world’s second largest “exporter” of students which essentially means brain drain from India.
  • It will not be easy to attract foreign universities to India and even more difficult to create the conditions for them to flourish as many of those top universities are already fully engaged overseas and would likely require incentives to set up in India.
  • There are smaller but highly regarded universities outside the ‘top 500’ category that might be more interested, which is restricted by the NEP 2020.
  • Many host countries have provided significant incentives, including building facilities and providing necessary infrastructure. Foreign universities are highly unlikely to invest significant funds up front.
  • If bureaucratic hurdles cannot be drastically cut, there will be no success in attracting branch campuses.

Steps needed

  • It is important to prevent profit-seekers from entering the Indian market and to encourage foreign institutions with innovative educational ideas and a long-term commitment.
  • A recent study underlined that apart from allowing home institutions to repatriate surplus funds after tax clearance, a new accreditation mechanism, flexible visa rules for foreign students and faculty, financial incentives to offer programmes in priority areas should also be considered.
  • It will be worthwhile to look at the experience of other countries for both positive and negative lessons. After examining national experiences elsewhere, clear policies can be implemented that may be attractive to foreign universities.

WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ Award

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ Award in News

  • Recently, the Prime Minister has expressed his happiness for the entire team of ASHA workers receiving WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ award.
  • Shri Modi said that ASHA workers are at forefront of ensuring a healthy India and their dedication and determination is admirable.

ASHA workers win WHO’s Global Health Leaders’ Award

  • India’s one million all-women ASHA workers were awarded and honoured by WHO for their-
    • Outstanding contribution to advancing global health,
    • Demonstrated leadership and
    • Commitment to regional health issues.
  • They were honoured for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system and ensuring those living in rural poverty can access primary health care services, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • WHO has said that ASHAs worked to-
    • Provide maternal care and immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases;
    • Community health care;
    • Treatment for hypertension and tuberculosis; and
    • Core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living.

WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ Award

  • About: WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ Awards were established in 2019 by the Director-general of WHO.
  • Award: WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ Awards are given during the session of the World Health Assembly (WHO).

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • About: WHO is the United Nations agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health.
  • WHO Headquarters: WHO’s global office is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
    • WHO Regional Offices: WHO Member States are grouped into 6 regions. Each region has a regional office.
    • WHO Country Offices: WHO collaborates with our Member States to provide on-the-ground planning, implementing and monitoring of health programmes.
  • WHO Formation: World Health Organization (WHO) was founded in 1948 by the United Nations (UN).
  • Member Countries: WHO has 194 Member States spread across 6 regions of the World.
  • WHO’s Key Role: WHO leads global efforts to expand universal health coverage. WHO direct and coordinate the world’s response to health emergencies.
    • WHO promote healthier lives – from pregnancy care through old age.
    • WHO’s Triple Billion targets outline an ambitious plan for the world to achieve good health for all using science-based policies and programmes.
  • Participation: From governments and civil society to international organizations, foundations, advocates, researchers and health workers, WHO mobilize every part of society to advance the health and security of all.

Investment Incentive Agreement

Relevance

  • GS 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Investment Incentive Agreement: Context

  • Recently, US has signed an Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) with India to continue providing investment support in India.

Investment Incentive Agreement: Key points

  • This IIA supersedes the Investment Incentive Agreement signed between the Government of India and the Government of the United States of America in the year 1997.
  • Significant developments have taken place since the signing of the earlier IIA in 1997 including the creation of a new agency called DFC, a development finance agency of Government of USA.
  • IIA has been signed to keep pace with the additional investment support programmes, offered by the DFC, such as debt, equity investment, investment guaranty, investment insurance or reinsurance, feasibility studies for potential projects and grants.

What is DSA?

  • DSA is a successor agency of the erstwhile Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) after the enactment of a recent legislation of USA, the BUILD Act 2018.
  • The Agreement is the legal requirement for DFC, to continue providing investment support in India.
  • DFC or their predecessor agencies are active in India since 1974 and have so far provided investment support worth $5.8 billion of which $2.9 billion is still outstanding.
  • Proposals worth $4 billion are under consideration by DFC for providing investment support in India.
  • DFC has provided investment support in sectors that matter for development such as COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, healthcare financing, renewable energy, SME financing, financial inclusion, infrastructure etc.
Thank You, Your details have been submitted we will get back to you.