Today Current Affairs 20 January 2022

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Safai Karamcharis National Commission

Why is it in the news?

The Union Cabinet extends the National Commission for SafaiKaramcharis by three years.

About:

The National Commission for SafaiKaramcharis (NCSK) was established as a statutory organisation in 1994 pursuant to the NCSK Act 1993.

  • It was initially developed for the period up to 1997. The Act’s validity was later extended to 2004.
  • In 2004, the NCSK Act was repealed.
  • Since then, the NCSK’s existence as a non-statutory organisation has been extended on a periodic basis through resolutions.
  • The Commission has been reorganised to serve as a consultative body to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The NCSK is responsible for enforcing the 2013 Act prohibiting manual scavenger work and providing for their rehabilitation.
  • It also receives complaints/petitions from Manual Scavengers located throughout the country (SafaiKaramcharis).
  • It seeks factual information from the appropriate authorities regarding these complaints/petitions and urges them to address the concerns of the affected SafaiKaramcharis.
  • The Commission is aware of SafaiKaramcharis’s concerns and attempts to address them through a proactive role based on information obtained through print or electronic media.

Endangered Eastern Swamp Deer

Why in the news?

Populations of the endangered eastern swamp deer, which is extinct elsewhere in South Asia, have declined in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

  • Barasingha (Cervus duvauceli), also known as swamp deer, elegant deer, or dolhorina, is a Cervidae (deer) family member (order Artiodactyla).
  • Swamp Deer Stags have ten to fourteen tines on their antlers, earning them the Hindi name barasingha, which translates as twelve-horned. • Barasingha are found in open forests and grasslands of India and Nepal.
  • Once widespread, the barasingha is now confined to isolated areas, national parks, and reserves.

There are three subspecies of Barasingha in India —

o Wetland Barasingha (Rucervusduvauceliiduvacelii) – India’s largest swamp deer (Rucervusduvauceliiduvacelii).

o On stony ground, Barasingha (Rucervusduvauceliibranderi)

o Eastern Barasingha (Rucervusduvauceliiranjitsinhii) – The Eastern Barasingha is the smallest of the Barasingha species. It has a shorter tail and antlers than other subspecies.

  • Although the Eastern Barasingha is indigenous to Kaziranga National Park and is not a primary prey species for park animals such as the tiger, its population is critical to the tiger reserve’s ecological health.
  • The species has since spread to other locations, including Orang National Park and the Laokhowa-Burachapori wildlife sanctuary; • The IUCN Red Data Book classifies it as an endangered species.

Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) Analysis

Why in the news?

  • Using statistical modelling, Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) estimated the mortality associated with 23 infections and 88 pathogen-drug combinations.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a term that refers to the condition in which antibiotics become ineffective against a wide variety of pathogenic microorganisms.

According to a comprehensive analysis of AMR’s global impact, which included 204 countries and territories, 1.27 million people died directly as a result of AMR in 2019.

  • AMR has surpassed HIV/AIDS and malaria as the leading cause of death globally.
  • According to the GRAM study, o 12.7 lakh deaths were directly attributable to AMR (these deaths would not have occurred if the infections had been drug-susceptible), o 49.5 lakh deaths were directly attributable to AMR (a drug-resistant infection was implicated, but resistance itself may or may not have been the direct cause of death).
  • Among the 23 pathogens examined, medication resistance was directly responsible for 9.29 lakh deaths and was associated with 3.57 million deaths in six countries (E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, A baumannii, and P aeruginosa).
  • Nearly a lakh deaths were directly attributable to a single pathogen-drug combination (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA).

• Antibiotic resistance to two classes of antibiotics (fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics), which are frequently considered the first line of defence against serious infections, accounted for more than 70% of AMR-related fatalities.

The Devas-Antrix arrangement

Why in the news?

  • The Supreme Court confirmed Devas’s liquidation, despite the fact that foreign investors are still seeking reimbursement for the cancelled 2005 satellite agreement with Antrix. The Supreme Court has maintained a restraining order against the $1.2 billion judgement.

How did the Devas-Atrix come to be?

  • In 2005, Devas signed a leasing agreement with Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s business sector affiliate. According to the terms of the agreement, ISRO will lease two satellites, GSAT-6 and 6A, to Devas for a period of 12 years.
  • Devas intended to provide multimedia services to Indian mobile phones by leasing 70 MHz of ISRO’s S-band spectrum.

On February 25, 2011, the government cancelled the transaction, citing “security concerns.”

What transpired following the deal’s termination?

  • In the aftermath of the termination, Devas and its foreign investors sought redress through a variety of international tribunals and courts. This resulted in an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration and two bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitrations between Antrix and Devas.
  • India prevailed in all three instances. Devas was awarded $1.2 billion in damages by an International Chamber of Commerce panel in 2015. Additionally, Deutsche Telekom was awarded $101 million plus interest by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Geneva in 2020.
  • In 2020, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law will award $111 million to Mauritius investors.
  • German investors sought redress for a breach of a bilateral investment treaty between India and Germany, while Mauritius investors sought redress for a breach of an India-Mauritius BIT.

What measures did India take?

  • In 2014, the Indian government referred the 2005 agreement to the CBI for investigation.
  • It exemplified the misuse of public office for personal gain. Additionally, the Enforcement Directorate charged a former Antrix managing director and five Devas officers with corruption in 2018 pursuant to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Unique National/State Identities

Why in the news?

  • The Central Government and State Governments have been implementing a variety of unique identifiers in order to improve system transparency and reduce leakage.

What are the Central Government’s Uniform Identification Numbers?

Aadhaar:

  • It is a 12-digit random number assigned by the UIDAI (“Authority”) to Indian citizens who adhere to the Authority’s verification procedures. Aadhaar enabled approximately 312 programmes, with eleven ministries accounting for 70% of the initiatives.

Card with a Permanent Account Number (PAN):

  • PAN (Permanent Account Number) is an abbreviation for Permanent Account Number. It is a ten-digit alphanumeric code assigned by the Income Tax Department of India to each taxpayer.
  • Additionally, there are additional unique IDs such as a voter ID for elections, a unique health ID for vaccination and health-related data, a unique ID for disabled individuals, a unique ID for property across 12 states, a corporate ID for each business, and a single unique ID for migrant workers.

What are State Government-issued Unique Identification Numbers?

  • Haryana’s government has launched a programme dubbed Parivar Pehchan Patra. Each household will receive an eight-digit identification number, and the plan will integrate all state government subsidy, pension, and insurance programmes.
  • Bhamashah Yojana is a government of Rajasthan initiative aimed at transparently transferring financial and non-financial benefits associated with government initiatives to women beneficiaries.
  • Madhya Pradesh issues Samagra IDs and passwords to citizens in order to facilitate registration for and access to government benefits.
  • Rather than creating their own unique identification numbers, states may group all Aadhaar IDs into a single family unit and then award benefits based on that information.

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