Daily Current Affairs 11-01-2024

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    Infrastructure Gaps for People with Disabilities Across Court Premises

    Syllabus: GS2/Social Justice

    In Context

    • As per the report of the Centre for Research and Planning of the Supreme Court there are severe gaps in accessibility for people with disabilities at courts across India.

    About

    • The first-of-its-kind report, sheds light on the inadequacies in the infrastructure of District Courts across India, raising serious concerns about the impediments faced by people with disabilities in accessing justice.

    Major Findings of the Report

    • More than half of the District Court complexes do not have ramps, only 25.2% have availability of wheelchairs.
    • Only 30.4% of District Court complexes have separate disabled-friendly toilets.
    • Only 5.1% of District Courts have tactile paving to assist persons with visual impairments in navigating the court building.
    • Sign language interpreters are available in only 2.8% districts in India.
    • Out of a sanctioned strength of 25,081 judges in District Judiciary, there are 20,831 courtrooms highlighting an infrastructure gap of 4,250 courtrooms.
      • When courts function in private rented buildings, they not only face the challenge of non-availability of necessary amenities but also of a secure work environment.
    • The data signifies a “critical shortcoming” in the judicial infrastructure with respect to accessibility, necessitating concerted attention and action.

    Measures Taken by Government of India for the People with Disabilities

    • National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006: It supports Physical Rehabilitation, which includes early detection and intervention, counselling and medical interventions and provision of aids and appliances. 
    • India is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): It came into force in 2008. Three important obligations arise out of the Convention, namely
      • Implementation of provisions of the UNCRPD, 
      • Harmonization of Indian Laws with the UNCRPD, 
      • and Preparation of a Country Report by 2010.
    • Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan): Launched in 2015, this initiative aims to make public spaces and transportation accessible for people with disabilities. It includes provisions for accessible buildings, transport, and websites.
    • Reservation in Education and Employment: The government provides reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for people with disabilities.
      • This ensures that a certain percentage of seats and jobs are reserved for individuals with disabilities.
    • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016: This legislation replaced the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
      • The new act expanded the categories of disabilities, increased the reservation in government jobs, and included measures to enhance accessibility.
    • Economic Empowerment: National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation is an apex institution for channelizing the funds to persons with disabilities through the State Channelizing Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Government(s) or through Non Government Organizations.

    Way Ahead

    • There is a need for regular inspection by the concerned agencies like the Public Works Department in coordination with the District Judges to explore modifications that can be made in existing court buildings to make the judicial infrastructure disabled-friendly.

    Source: TH

    World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2024 Report

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In Context

    • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has released the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2024 report.

    Major Findings

    • Joblessness and the jobs gap have both fallen below pre-pandemic levels but global unemployment will rise in 2024.
    • The Economic Recovery: The macroeconomic environment deteriorated significantly over 2023.
      • Ongoing geopolitical tensions as well as persistent and broadening inflation triggered frequent and aggressive moves by central banks. 
      • Monetary authorities in advanced and emerging economies implemented the fastest increase in interest rates since the 1980s, with significant global repercussions. 
    • Economic Slowdown: China, Türkiye and Brazil slowed down considerably, causing adverse impact on global industrial activity, investment and trade.
      • Despite the economic slowdown, global growth in 2023 was modestly higher than anticipated, and labour markets showed surprising resilience. 
    • Unemployment Rate: The global unemployment rate in 2023 was 5.1%, a modest improvement from 2022.
      • The labour market participation rates had largely also recovered from their pandemic lows. 
      • Although the imbalances eased somewhat in 2023, concerns are rising that these labour market imbalances are structural, rather than cyclical, in nature.
    • Real wages declined in the majority of G20 countries as wage increases failed to keep pace with inflation.
      • In 2023, the numbers of workers living in extreme poverty – earning less than US$2.15 per day per person in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms – grew by about one million globally. 
      • Only China, the Russian Federation and Mexico enjoyed positive real wage growth in 2023. 
      • Real wage growth in India and Türkiye was also positive.

    Suggestions As per the Report

    • In fast-ageing countries, policymakers need to support the participation of groups with weak labour market attachment, notably youth, women and older workers.
    • Investment and skills policies need to raise productivity and potential growth and facilitate more productive use of technological progress.
    • Improvements in sectors and occupations with low pay and difficult working conditions may motivate workers who left to come back.
    • Ensuring that internationally mobile workers get matched to adequate jobs could alleviate some of the shortages.
    • None of the structural headwinds facing labour market adjustment is likely to disappear over the short term, which makes it important that governments and social partners engage in supplemental efforts to address these challenges.
    About International Labour Organization
    – It is an United Nations Agency established in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, and it became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946.
    – It has 187 Member states.
    – It sets labour standards, develops policies and devises programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
    – It is the only tripartite U.N. agency that brings together governments, employers and workers.
    – It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
    Major Reports: World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO), Global Wage Report, World Social Protection Report, World Employment and Social Outlook for Youth, World of Work Report.

    Source: TH

    Dark Phase of Tea Industry

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    In Context

    • India’s tea industry is experiencing challenges reminiscent of the “dark phase” of 2002-07, calling for introspection and resilience.

    Challenges faced by Indian Tea Industry

    • Increased input cost: The tea prices increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 4% over the past decade, however the cost of inputs like gas and coal grew at a CAGR of 9-15%.
    • Demand-supply gap: The rise in small tea growers and so on production, is not in proportion with the domestic consumption and exports, leading to surplus production.
    • Weak exports: The Iran market constitutes nearly 20% of total tea exports from India and there is decline of  exports to Iran due to the payment issues causing financial stress to the exporters
      •  A decline in overall export demand due to surplus in the global markets, led to an international price crash.
    • Nepal’s gardens: Unhampered and easy influx of substandard tea from neighboring countries, especially Nepal” is jeopardizing the tea industry of India. 
    • Other factors: Stagnant prices, concentration of market power among a few key players, and a decline in the quality of teas to make the beverage more affordable etc. have been identified as major factors.
    Tea Board of India
    – The Tea Board of India is functioning as a statutory body of the Central Government under the Ministry of Commerce.
    – It was established by the enactment of the Tea Act in 1953, to promote the cultivation, processing, and domestic trade as well as export of tea from India.
    Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal

    Steps taken by Indian Government

    • The Tea Board of India had devised a scheme of “Assistance of education stipend to the wards of Small Tea Growers” to improve their livelihood and education needs.
    • The Government of India through the Tea Board had helped in the formation of 352 Self Help Group (SHG), 440 Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) and 17 Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs).
    • A mobile app “Chai Sahyog”, is being developed to help Small Tea Growers in terms of better price realization and information.

    Indian Tea Industry

    • India is the 2nd largest tea producer and largest black tea producer.
    • Indian teas are exported to various destinations like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia etc. and is the 4th largest tea exporter in the World.
    • The Indian tea Industry is employing 1.16 million workers directly and an equal number of people are associated with it indirectly.
    • Assam grows about 55% of the teas produced in India. India’s tea production has increased by 39% in 2022 from 2008.

    Way Ahead

    • The Government needs to intervene by providing better export infrastructure, fully defraying State duties by increasing the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products) rate and reducing the interest rate on borrowings to make Indian tea producers/exporters more competitive in the international market.
    • Steps are needed to regulate tea waste sold in the domestic market at lower prices, restricting import of poor-quality teas, and promotion of tea emphasizing its health benefits. 
    Geographical Condition for Tea production
    – The tea plant grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. Tea bushes require a warm and moist frost-free climate all through the year. 
    Soil: It requires deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter. 
    Temperature: The average annual temperature for tea plants to grow well is in the range of 15-23°C. 
    Precipitation: The rainfall needed is between 150-200 cm. Frequent showers evenly distributed over the year ensure continuous growth of tender leaves.
    Major tea producing states are Assam, hills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 
    a. Apart from these, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura are also tea-producing states in the country.

    Source: TH

    News in Short

    Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy

    In Context

    • The 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit was inuaugrated in Gandhinagar.

    About

    • It is a three-day event witnessing the participation of 34 partner countries and delegates from over 130 countries. 
    • It will also celebrate ‘20 years of Vibrant Gujarat as the Summit of Success’.
    • This year’s Summit’s theme is ‘Gateway to the Future’. 
    • The concept of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit was started in 2003.
    • The Summit will host various events including seminars and conferences on globally relevant topics such as Industry 4.0, Technology and Innovation, Sustainable Manufacturing, Green Hydrogen, Electric Mobility and Renewable Energy and Transition towards Sustainability.

    Source: TH

    Peregrine Mission One

    Syllabus:GS3/Science and Technology

    Context

    • Peregrine Mission One, suffered a technical issue within the propulsion system that caused a critical loss of propellant.

    Peregrine Mission One

    • The mission is a lunar landing mission from private spaceflight company Astrobotic and partially funded by NASA.
    • The mission carried Peregrine lander, a cargo transport craft, capable of carrying multiple payloads from different clients to the surface at the same time.
    • The aim of the mission is to pave the way for the Artemis programme, which hopes to set humans on the lunar surface by the end of the decade.
    • The mission carries payloads:
      • Near Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System (NIRVSS)
      • Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer (LETS)
      • Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA)
      • PROSPECT Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometer for Lunar Surface Volatiles (PITMS)
      • Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL)

    Source: MINT

    Concept of Remission

    Syllabus:GS2/Polity

    Context

    • The grant of remission to the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case is an ‘injustice of exceptionalism’.

    What is Remission?

    • The remission is reducing the period of a sentence without changing its character.
    • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provides for remission of prison sentences, which means the whole or a part of the sentence may be cancelled. 

    Constitutional Provisions

    • Under Article 72, the President can grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence;
      • In all cases where the punishment or sentence is by a court-martial,
      • In all cases where the punishment or sentence is for an offence under any law relating to the Union government’s executive power, and 
      • In all cases of death sentences.
    • Under Article 161 of the Constitution, the governor can grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment or suspend, remit and commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offense against a state law.
    • But, the pardoning power of the governor differs from that of the President in following two respects:
      • The President can pardon sentences inflicted by court martial (military courts) while the governor cannot.
      • The President can pardon death sentences while the governor cannot. 

    Source: TH

    Timor-Leste

    Syllabus: Places in News

    In Context

    • The PM of India held a bilateral meeting with the President of Timor-Leste with discussions covering cooperation in various fields .

    About Timor-Leste

    • It is situated 550 km north of Australia, it is the smallest and more eastern island of the Malay archipelago. 
    • Capital : Dili 
    • It is the only Portuguese speaking country independent nation in Asia
    • North and South costs are divided by mountain ranges.
      • Most elevated point is the Ramelau with 2972 m.
    •  Vegetation characterized by the abundance of Teak trees, sandal trees, coconuts and eucalyptus.

    Belgorod Region

    Syllabus: Places in News

    In Context

    • Some 300 residents of the western Russian city of Belgorod have been evacuated following a recent wave of Ukrainian strikes.

    About Belgorod Region

    • It is situated in the centre of the European part of Russia, on the southern and southeastern slopes of the Central Russian Upland.
    • It is one of Russia’s successfully developing industrial and agricultural regions.  
    • It borders on the Kursk and Voronezh regions, the Lugansk People’s Republic. 
    • It also shares a state border with Ukraine.
    • The region is crisscrossed with rivers.
      • The largest rivers are the Psyol, Seversky Donets, Vorskla, Oskol, Tikhaya Sosna and Valui. 
    • The region has a moderate continental climate with hot summers and relatively cold winters.

    Okinawa 

    Syllabus: Places in News

    In Context

    • Japan Resumed Landfill Work at New US Military Site on Okinawa

    About Okinawa 

    • Okinawa Prefecture is located in the eastern part of the Asian continent
    • It is the southwestern most point of the Japanese archipelago.
    • It is located between Taiwan and Kyushu, the southwestern-most of Japan’s four main islands.
      • Okinawa remains under Japanese administration today.
    • Okinawa comprises 160 islands of varied sizes and enjoys warm and pleasant temperatures throughout the year. 
    • The warm Kuroshio Current flows through the clear ocean waters of Okinawa, creating an environment in which coral, fish, and other sea creatures thrive.
    • It is the only region in Japan that is in the subtropical zone, and is blessed with a warm climate all year round. 

    Aigai

    Syllabus: Places in News

    In Context

    • The ancient Palace of Aigai reopened after a 16-year.

    About Aigai 

    • The city of Aigai was the ancient first capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia.
    • It was discovered in the 19th century near Vergina, in northern Greece.
    • The most important remains are the monumental palace, lavishly decorated with mosaics and painted stuccoes, and the burial ground.
    • Alexander the Great was crowned in the ancient Palace of Aigai.
    • It was built by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, the tombs of Philip and other Macedonian kings are nearby.
      • After the assassination of his father, Alexander was crowned at the palace in 336 BC .
    • The palace and the nearby tombs are listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 

    National Sports Awards 2023 

    Syllabus : Miscellaneous

    In Context

    • Recently, President Droupadi Murmu presented the National Sports Awards 2023 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    About

    • National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports.
    • The awards are administered by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India.
    • Categories: Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award: The award is conferred for the most outstanding performance in the area of sports by a sportsperson over the time period of the last four years.
      • Arjuna Awards for Outstanding Performance in Sports and Games: The award is conferred for great performance over the last four years and for demonstrating qualities of sportsmanship, a sense of discipline, and leadership.
      • Dronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games: The award is conferred to coaches for demonstrating outstanding work consistently and for making it possible for sportspersons to ace in International events.
      • Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games: The award is conferred to honor the sportspersons who have actually contributed to the field of sports through their performance, and who contribute to sports even post-retirement.
      • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy: The award is given to the overall high-performing university in inter-university tournaments.
      • Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar: It is given to corporate entities, Sports Control Boards, NGOs, including sports bodies at the State and National level, who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development.

    Source: PIB