01 January 2021: Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Exam
1) Laser Dazzlers
GS 3: Science and Technology- developments
- Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has signed a contract with Indian Navy for initially supply 20 Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Dazlers (Laser Dazzlers). These would be manufactured by BEL, Pune plant.
- Also, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for procurement of 10 Lynx U2 Fire Control systems for frontline warships of Indian Navy.
ABOUT LASER DAZZLERS:
- It is used as a non-lethal method for warning and stopping suspicious vehicles/boats/aircrafts/UAVs/pirates etc. from approaching secured areas during both day and night.
- It suppresses the person’s/optical sensor’s actions with disability glare in case of non-compliance to orders.
- It disorients/ confuse/blind a person temporarily. It also dazzles and distracts aircraft/UAVs.
- It is portable, shoulder operated and ruggedized for military use in adverse environmental conditions.
- Laser dazzler technology was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- This unique product is indigenously designed and developed for first time for the Armed Forces. It will support the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
2) Global Pravasi Rishta portal
GS 2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on Indian diaspora
- Minister of State for External Affairs launched the Global Pravasi Rishta portal and mobile App, to connect with Indian Diaspora across the world.
- The portal will act as a dynamic communication platform between Indian Pravasi, the Ministry of External Affairs and missions abroad and will help in engaging the Indian diaspora more intensively. On the other hand, the mobile app will be used by the diaspora and the Indian nationals, while the portal web interface will be used by the missions.
- This initiative will enable three-way communication between the ministry, our missions and the diaspora.
- As of now, there is no effective communication channel available with the ministry to connect with the Indian diaspora worldwide. Hence, effectively connection with the Indian diaspora has been a challenge not only during normal circumstances but also during emergencies.
- Now, this portal is created to enable the registration of Indian diaspora members i.e. NRIs, PIOs and the OCIs which is not just going to facilitate the Indian government to connect with the overseas Indian community but also facilitate NRIs, OCIs and PIOs community by connecting them to various new and existing government schemes benefiting them in various areas of interest.
- This portal and app will also assist during any crisis management and lend a helping hand to the NRIs and PIOs.
- The right portal will enable communication with the diaspora on a real-time basis and will have the ability to issue emergency alerts and advisories. It will also enable the diaspora to reach the consular officers and services in times of emergencies.
- Presently there are nearly 3.12 crore overseas Indians globally of which nearly 1.34 crore are PIOs and 1.78 crore are NRIs.
- The global Pravasi Rishta portal is a giant step in innovating and effective communication channel with them.
- The portal will not only contain useful information for the diaspora such as information on visa, passport, and other consular services but will also have information about various events organized by the missions and send invites to the diaspora members for greater participation.
- The dynamic nature of the portal and the app will also allow us to take useful opinions of our diaspora on policy issues sharing e-newsletters, conducting surveys etc.
Source: Economic Times
3) Fewer kids under 3 breastfed
GS 2: Issues relating to Health
- Recently, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) released the data for 17 states and five Union territories (UT), the number of women breastfeeding their newborns within an hour declined in the last five years.
- Significant changes in the last five years were seen in Meghalaya and Lakshadweep as well as Sikkim, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and Assam.
- Marked differences were observed in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Manipur and Meghalaya.
STATES RECORDED A DIP:
- The women in urban regions of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli along with Bihar, Gujarat, Sikkim, Telangana and Tripura in the practice.
- Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu showed the least percentage of children under three years and who were breastfed within an hour of birth.
- This was followed by Bihar, Sikkim, Tripura, Telangana and Gujarat.
- Sikkim was followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and Assam in this context.
- The percentage of children under three who were breastfed within one hour of birth in Telangana remains almost unchanged.
STATES RECORDED A HIGH
- It is registered in Meghalaya, followed by Lakshwadeep, Kerala and Mizoram.
- Lakshadweep showed a sharp increase in the percentage of children under three years and who were breastfed within one hour of birth.
- Only 10 states as well as UTs — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Telangana and West Bengal — of 22 showed an increase in the percentage of children that were breastfed.
- In 13 states and UTs, the percentage of children in rural areas breastfed within an hour of birth was greater than in urban areas.
- This was seen mostly in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim.
- Rural women tend to stick with traditions and breastfed their newborns. But the same is not the case for urban women.
- Increased breastfeeding reduces the chances of child being obese. This practice is fading due to the increase in technologies.
- The absence of breastfeeding increases the risk of illness in the infant from infectious diseases: 53 percent hospitalizations occur due to diarrhea, 27 percent low respiratory tract infection that can be reduced through breastfeeding.
- Mothers who do not breastfeed are also at risk: they gain weight, blood pressure, suffer from postpartum depression, cardiovascular diseases and bone health.
- Oxygen saturation and body temperature were found to be lower in infants fed through bottles than infants who were breastfed. Long-term risks include asthma, childhood cancers and cognitive and brain development.
- Supplementary foods or liquids for infants need to be done away with.
- Health care centers and birth attendants should be well-equipped to educate new mothers on the importance of breastfeeding.
- Fathers should actively participate and provide aid to mothers during breastfeeding in hospitals.
- Overall, 16 percent of the neonatal deaths can be saved if infants are breastfed from day one of birth and if 22 percent of the breastfeeding starts within an hour of birth.
- Research has shown that there are significant nutritional, psychological, developmental, immunologic, social and environmental benefits of breastfeeding on mothers and on their children.
- The other important benefits include a dip in post-partum bleeding and more rapid uterine involution, an earlier return to pre-pregnant weight, delay in resumption that causes an increase in child spacing, reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
Source: Down To Earth
4) Fiscal Deficit
GS 3: Indian Economy and issues relating to growth, development
- As per data released by the Controller General of Accounts, India’s fiscal deficit increased up to 135.1% of the Budget target of nearly ?8 lakh crore for 202021, in the 8 months from April to November 2020. The figure had stood at 114.8% a year earlier.
- The revenue deficit had crossed 125% in the first half of 2020, and almost touched 140% of the Budget target by November.
- The fiscal deficit had reached 120% of the year’s target, or ?9.53 lakh crore by the end of October. It rose to ?10.8 lakh crore in November.
- Government spending, including capital expenditure considered critical to reviving the economy, was low in 2020, though there was a monthon-month increase in November 2020.
- Only 62.7% of the budgeted expenditure for the year had been spent by November, which is lower than the 65.3% recorded a year earlier.
- Capital expenditure touched 58.5% of target by November 2020.
- If all the allocations mentioned in the Atmanirbhar programs are executed, then the fiscal deficit will increase to around 9% of GDP — a deficit of around ?1718 lakh crore.
- In the current scenario, the most important thing is to bring back confidence among consumers as well as businesses. This will help in fuelling economic recovery.
- FISCAL DEFICIT is the excess of total disbursements from the Consolidated Fund of India, excluding repayment of the debt, over total receipts into the Fund (excluding the debt receipts) during a financial year. It is a shortfall in a government's income compared with its spending. On the other hand, REVENUE DEFICIT which is only related to revenue expenditure and revenue receipts of the government.
Source: The Hindu
5) Anti-money laundering systems
GS 3: Security: money-laundering and its prevention
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF), global money laundering and terror funding watchdog, is expected to undertake a review of India’s mechanisms to deal with suspicious transactions and financial crimes in 2021.
- There is a need for financial institutions to raise the bar on monitoring such activity.
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had deferred its evaluation of India’s anti-money laundering regime scheduled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FATF review of India will happen in 2021.
- The FATF undertakes peer reviews of each member on an ongoing basis to assess the implementation of its recommendations and provides a detailed analysis of each country's system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system.
ACTIONS BY FATF:
- It is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
- Its Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
- It is a “policy-making body” that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
- In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
- In April 2012, it also added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- It decided to keep Pakistan on its “grey list” as it has failed to act on six key mandates. Further, FATF urged Pakistan to complete an internationally agreed action plan by February 2021. So far, only two countries have been blacklisted – Iran and North Korea.
Source: The Hindu