Today Current Affairs English 2 February 2022

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UNSC joint statement on nuclear weapons

Why in news?

The UN Security Council’s P5 members recently issued an united declaration on preventing nuclear war and ending the ongoing global weapons race.

 

What the joint statement on Nuclear weapons says?

Nuclear War Prevention – The P5 declaration underlined that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be undertaken” due to its catastrophic implications.Avoiding a global arms race – They did, however, maintain that nuclear weapons are necessary for defensive purposes to discourage aggression and avoid conflict.The declaration also reaffirmed the need of dealing with nuclear threats.The need of “maintaining and complying with bilateral and multinational nonproliferation, disarmament, and weapons control agreements and commitments” was emphasised.

 

The declaration also stated a commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ commitments (NPT).Prevent nuclear weapons from being used in an unforeseen or unapproved manner.

 

What did they propose to accomplish?

The P5 have pledged to “operate with all states to build a secure environment that promotes disarmament progress.” The ultimate goal would be “a world without nuclear weapons” with “unaffected security for everybody.” “continue to seek bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, and increase mutual understanding and confidence.” The declaration is not a legally binding decision. It simply restates some of the NPT’s core responsibilities. Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, the NPT review has been postponed until August.

 

How significant is the statement?

It didn’t get any worse. the statement’s urgency and political relevance the inconceivable threat posed by the 13,000 nuclear weapons now owned by a small number of countries the spectre of loose nukes that may be used by armed terrorist groups for malevolent purposes.

 

What was the warning from UN Secretary-General?

Nuclear destruction is “only one misunderstanding or error away,” according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He urged that aggressive action be taken on six fronts. Member states should chart a path forward on nuclear disarmament; they should agree to new “transparency and dialogue” measures; they should address the “simmering” nuclear crises in the Middle East and Asia; they should strengthen the existing global bodies that support non-proliferation, such as the IAEA; they should promote the peaceful use of nuclear technology; and they should remind the world’s people, particularly the young, that eliminating nuclear weapons is the only way to ensure that the world is free of nuclear weapons.                 

What needs to be done?

PF members’ assurances that an arms race will not be launched against each other or any other country, therefore limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.

Extension of ECLGS

Why in News?

The Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) was extended to include the following fiscal year in Budget 2022, with an increased guarantee cover of Rs 5 lakh crore.

 

What is ECLGS?

This scheme was introduced in 2020 as part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package. Its goal is to assist enterprises, particularly SMEs, in meeting their operating liabilities and resuming operations following the COVID-19 crisis. Borrowers could receive an additional credit of up to 20% of their total outstanding credit as of February 29, 2020 under the scheme. Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) receive a 100 percent guarantee from the government against any losses incurred as a result of borrowers’ failure to repay ECLGS funds. Eligibility Criteria And Target Group – The following are the eligibility requirements for ECLGS credit:

 

The ECLGS is a demand-driven programme. Lending institutions make sanctions/disbursements based on their evaluation of the borrower’s needs and eligibility.The overall cap for ECLGS was initially set at Rs 3 lakh crore, however it was later increased to Rs 4.5 lakh crore.The Department of Financial Services (DFS), which is part of the Ministry of Finance’s operational area, oversees ECLGS.Interest rates have been regulated at 9.25 percent for banks and financial institutions and 14 percent for non-banking financial institutions under the ECLGS scheme to ensure easy repayment.This plan also includes a one-year payment moratorium on the principle component.

 

What is a Special mention Account (SMA)?

RBI categorised debt owing to consumer groups into three categories under SMAs (Special Mention Accounts) in order to control bad loans.SMA-0 loans are those in which the principle and interest have remained unpaid for 30 days after the payment due date. Overdue for a period of more than 30 days to 60 days is classified as SMA-1. SMA-2 is used when the late tenure is between 61 and 90 days.

 

Why ECLGS has been extended?

ECLGS for small firms has recently been extended for another year, till March 2023.

It would increase its guarantee cover by Rs. 50,000 crore (500 billion) to Rs 5 lakh crores (5.0 trillion).The additional funds will be used solely for the hospitality and allied industries.More than 130 lakh MSMEs have received much-needed supplementary credit through the ECLGS so far.This has aided them in reducing the pandemic’s negative effects.Since hospitality and allied services, particularly those provided by micro and small businesses, have yet to resume their pre-pandemic levels of business, the extension has been made.

 

What will be the benefits?

Banks can extend new loans to existing clients without requiring additional collateral.MSMEs affected by state-level lockdowns receive financing to help them stay afloat.Because the facility is fully guaranteed by the government against credit losses, sanctions and disbursements are considerably speedier.

The easing of the policy is likely to help businesses in the hospitality, travel and tourism, as well as leisure and sporting industries. The facility is available to hotels, restaurants, canteens, caterers, wedding venues, tour operators, amusement parks, and theatres.

An Overview of Budget 2022-23

Why in news?

India released a larger budget for the coming fiscal year, totaling Rs 39.4 lakh crore, in order to place the economy on a more solid footing while it recovers from the pandemic.

What does the budget 2022-23 propose?

The finance minister emphasised the importance of providing more trust-based government, with a futuristic and inclusive vision, in the next 25 years leading up to the country’s 100th anniversary of independence, which he referred to as Amrit Kaal (a period of emancipation).GDP growth- The nominal GDP growth projection for 2022-23 in the Centre’s 2022-23 Budget is 11.1 percent.This year’s real GDP growth is expected to range from 8% to 8.5 percent, according to the Economic Survey.Fiscal deficit- The government’s fiscal deficit for the fiscal year 2022-23 was set at 6.4 percent of GDP, down from 6.9 percent the previous year, according to the Budget.

 

Why infrastructure spending has become the cornerstone of Budget 2022?

Capital expenditures are expected to rise to Rs 7.5 lakh crore because to an increase in private investment crowding.

The budget encourages states to increase capital expenditures by allowing them a fiscal deficit maximum of 4% of GDP, with an additional 0.5 percent point set aside for increasing electricity infrastructure.

 

Over and beyond the standard borrowings allowed, Rs 1 lakh crore has been granted to States for capital expenditure in 2022-23 as 50-year interest-free loans.

 

PM Gati Shakti- The first ever spending of Rs. 20,000 crore in the Budget for FY22-23 was for this 100 lakh crore rupee initiative for constructing holistic infrastructure, which was launched in 2021.

 

Roads, trains, airports, ports, mass transportation, waterways, and logistics infrastructure are the seven engines driving the strategy.Master Plan for Expressways- According to the budget, a Master Plan for Expressways will be developed in 2022-23 and will add 25,000 kilometres to the National Highways network. As part of the master plan, 400 next generation Vande Bharat trains are expected to be produced by 2025.

 

The master plan will be guided by world-class modern infrastructure and logistical synergy among various modes of transportation and project locations.

 

In 2022-23, 2,000 km of railway network would be brought under Kavach, an indigenous world-class technology for safety and capacity augmentation, as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

100 PM – Multimodal logistics During the following three years, GatiShakti freight terminals for multimodal logistics facilities will be created.

 

On a PPP basis, four multimodal logistics parks were also included.Infrastructure programmes such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, and the UDAN programme, as well as economic zones like as textile and pharmaceutical clusters, defence and industrial corridors, electronic parks, fisheries clusters, and agro zones, will be incorporated by PM Gati Shakti.

The initiative will also make use of technology, such as spatial planning tools based on BiSAG-N imaging (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics).

Parvatmala- The government also unveiled Parvatmala, a national ropeways development programme positioned as a long-term alternative to traditional highways in challenging steep terrain.

 

The National Ropeways Development Program will be implemented through a public-private partnership.

The Ken-Betwa river link project is the first in the Union government’s National Perspective Plan for river interlinking.The implementation of the Rs. 44, 605 crore Ken-Betwa river connection project will be undertaken.

 

The project in Bundelkhand, which spans 13 districts in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and is projected to provide drinking water, irrigation, hydropower, and solar electricity, is expected to provide drinking water, irrigation, hydropower, and solar power.

National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)- If a medium-term assessment of NIP had been done in the Budget, it would have offered better openness by showing the sectors with deficient investment as compared to the original plans.

What about the social sector?

Various worldwide indices that measure India’s human capital, such as the Human Development Index (rank 131 out of 189 nations) and the Global Hunger Index, continue to place the country low (rank 101 out of 116 countries).

According to Oxfam’s “Inequality Kills” study and the ICE360 survey, the poorer sectors of society’s incomes are declining while the affluent sections’ incomes are increasing.

Spending in the social sector- Overall social sector spending, which includes education, health, housing, and social assistance, is expected to decrease in the coming fiscal year.

It will drop from 6.5 percent of overall expenditure in the current fiscal year to 6.1 percent.

 

Education Sector

For the financial year (FY) 2022-23, the Ministry of Education has got a budgetary allocation of Rs. 1 lakh crore, which is a new high.The focus was on the Samagra Shiksha Flagship Scheme for school education, the World Bank-assisted STARS Scheme, and so on.

Digital learning- The expansion of the PM e-VIDYA programme, a plan to build a digital university, and the development of e-content in all Indian languages were among the announcements to promote digital learning.The “one class, one channel” project initiated under PM e-VIDYA in 2020 would be scaled up from 12 to 200 channels to allow all states to deliver additional education in regional languages to children in grades I to XII.

Healthcare Sector

According to the Economic Survey, which was released a day before this year’s Budget, health spending accounted for 2.1 percent of GDP, indicating that we are on track to meet the government’s 2.5 percent objective by 2025.Over the years 2021-22, the budget allocation for the Department of Health and Family Welfare increased by 16.5 percent.

There is an increase in health spending as a percentage of GDP by incorporating water, sanitation, and air pollution control in the health budget.

Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal is a scheme created by Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal. Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal, a component of the Jal Jivan Mission that promises to supply piped drinking water to every family in the country by 2024, has been allocated Rs. 60,000 crore.

Pollution management initiatives include expanding zero-emission public transportation, providing incentives to prevent crop stubble burning, and implementing a battery-swapping programme.

National Health Mission- The funding for the National Health Mission has increased by 1% over the previous year, when the burden of financing the programme was shifted to the states. Pradhan Swasthya Mantri  Swasthya  Mantri Swasthya Mantri Suraksha Yojana- This scheme, which focuses on expanding tertiary care facilities, has received a 35.1 percent boost, in line with the promise of an AIIMS in every state and the upgrading of various medical college hospitals.

AYUSH – The budget for AYUSH has been increased by 14.5 percent.

Mental health- It also recommended establishing a National Tele Mental Health Program in India, with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) serving as the nodal hub.

Although the much-needed investment in upgrading the surveillance system has a paltry 16.4 percent rise, budget outlays for public hospitals have climbed by 30%.

Despite the ongoing need for COVID-19 research and development of new vaccines, the Department of Health Research sees just a 3.9 percent increase.

COVID-19 vaccines received a budget of Rs. 5,000 crore, down from Rs. 39,000 crore the previous year.

PMJAY- Like previous year, the main Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme (PMJAY) is grossly underfunded.

PM-POSHAN-Allocations for the National Program of Mid-Day Meal in Schools, currently known as Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman, have decreased by 11% year on year.

The allocation for the Health Infrastructure Mission appears to be lacking in ambition.

Social safety net

 

Food subsidy- The food subsidy for 2022-23 is only enough to cover ordinary NFSA entitlements, implying that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana would not be extended (PMGKAY).

MGNREGA- Given the increased demand for labour from returning migrants and distressed rural people, the budget projection of Rs 73,000 crore for the coming year is insufficient.

Budgets for vital programmes like Saksham Anganwadi, maternity benefits, and social security pensions are roughly the same as last year’s allocations.

Overall, government resources allotted for critical government programmes in the areas of health, education, nutrition, and social protection have remained static or have increased in a neglectful manner.

What are the budget proposals on economical aspect?

Domestic manufacturing-
To reduce import dependence in procurement for the country’s defence forces, the Minister has suggested allocating 68 percent of the armed services’ capital procurement budget to domestic industry in 2022-23.

It advocated introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency that would use blockchain technology to stimulate the digital economy and make currency administration more effective and affordable.

Any revenue derived from the transfer of a virtual digital asset will be taxed at a rate of 30%.

Disinvestment- The current budget reflects a dramatic drop in capital earnings from asset sales, with only Rs. 65,000 crore budgeted for fiscal 2023.

Other’s News:

Nanoantenna

To analyse changes in the structure of protein molecules, researchers built a nanoantenna comprised of DNA and polyethylene glycol (PEG).

 

Working – The DNA-based nanoantenna functions similarly to a two-way radio, receiving and transmitting radio waves.It can only accept light of a single wavelength.

 

Depending on the protein changes it detects, it transmits light in a different colour, which may be identified and examined.

Characteristics – At higher temperatures, these fluorescent nanoantennas remained stable.

 

These nanoantenna have a significant advantage over fluorescent dyes, which are widely employed in biotechnology.These nanoantennae have an affinity for a specific region of a protein, which is dependent on the structure and chemistry of the protein, whereas the latter have a low affinity for proteins.As a result, they can detect even the tiniest changes.Even when it came to protein-protein interactions, the nanoantenna passed muster.To improve their performance, these nanoantenna can be synthesised with various lengths and flexibilities.The antenna will aid in our understanding of how natural nanomachines function or malfunction, resulting in disease.These nanoantenna[e] may easily be used to examine proteins in labs with a standard spectrofluorometer. This research will aid in the discovery of novel medications as well as the development of new nanotechnologies and nanomachines.  When employed to investigate enzyme kinetics, or the rate at which a reaction proceeds in the presence of an enzyme, the antenna functioned admirably.

 

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