Daily Current Affairs – 16-06-2023

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    NCBC Approves Addition Of 80 More Castes To Central List Of OBCs

    Syllabus: GS2/ Polity and Governance, Constitutional Bodies, Welfare of Marginalized Section

    In News

    • Approximately 80 more castes in six States are now likely to be added to the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

    About

    • The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) is already processing the approval for most of them.
    • There are currently over 2,650 different communities listed in the Central OBC list for all States and Union Territories, including the 16 communities that were added since 2014. 
    • In a report released by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE), the government had decided to include 16 communities to the Central list of OBCs from the states like Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The other states include Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana, from where communities are shortlisted to get included under the central OBC list.
    • The Union government also highlighted its recent move to bring the 105th Amendment to the Constitution, which reaffirmed the rights of States to maintain their own OBC lists. 

    Origin: OBCs in India

    • First defined in the 1980 Mandal Commission report, OBCs among Hindus were identified based on socio-educational field surveys, lists of OBCs notified by various State governments, the 1961 Census report, and extensive touring of the country. 
    • Among non-Hindus, the caste system was not found to be an inherent part of the religion. 
      • However, for equality, untouchables who converted from Hinduism and occupational communities known by their traditional hereditary jobs, such as the Gujjars, Dhobis, and Telis, were also identified as OBCs.

    Other Backward Classes (OBC) status 

    • States were empowered to maintain their own list of OBCs to provide necessary benefits. Thus, we have
      • Union OBC list for reservation in Central government jobs & Central Educational institutions
      • OBC lists at the State level (varies with each state) for reservation in State government jobs & State Educational institutions.
    • The Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018 granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC). It further inserted:
      • Article 338B, which deals with the structure, duties, and powers of the NCBC.
        • It was tasked with monitoring safeguards provided for socially and educationally backward classes, giving advice on their socio-economic development, inquiring into complaints and making recommendations, among other functions.
      • Article 342A, which deals with the powers of the President to notify a particular caste as an SEBC and the power of Parliament to change the list.

    Procedure of addition of OBC Communities in Centre List

    • Unlike with the process for adding communities to the SC or ST list, additions to the Central OBC list do not require the concurrence of other authorities or the Office of the Registrar General of India. The Commission is solely responsible for the Central OBC list’s additions and updates.
    • As per the Procedure for Addition prescribed in the NCBC Act, 1993, the Commission is mandated to constitute a Bench to examine such proposals and then forward their decision to the Union government (with dissent, where applicable). 
    • The Cabinet then needs to approve the additions and bring legislation to this effect, following which the President is empowered to notify the change. 
    • The Commission, as per its guidelines, considers additions to the Central OBC list based on social, educational and economic indicators suggested by the Mandal Commission established in 1979.

    Supreme Court’s observations and 127th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021

    • Supreme Court in the Maratha Reservation case: Ruled that only the Centre had the power to draw up the OBC list, as per the above interpretation of Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act (Article 342A only mentions President & Parliament with no reference to states).
    • To reverse the verdict and to restore the powers of the state governments to maintain state list of OBCs, Parliament passed 127th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021
      • Amendment in Articles 366(26C) and 338B (9), after which states will be able to directly notify OBC and SEBCs without having to refer to the NCBC, and the “state list” was being taken out of the domain of the President and will be notified by the Assembly.

    Constitutional Provisions

    • Article 15 (5): This clause was added in the 93rd amendment in 2005 and allows the state to make special provisions for backward classes or SCs or STs for admissions in private educational institutions, aided or unaided.
    • Article 16(4): This clause allows the state to reserve vacancies in public service for any backward classes of the state that are not adequately represented in the public services.
    • Article 16 (4A): This allows the state to implement reservation in the matter of promotion for SCs and STs.
    • Article 16(4B): This allows the state to consider unfilled vacancies reserved for backward classes as a separate class of vacancies not subject to a limit of 50% reservation.
    • Article 340: This Article provides the president the power to  Appointment of a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes
    • Article 338B: This article provides constitutional status for the National Commission for Backward Classes.
    • The Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018: It granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC).

     

    Source: TH

     

    Non-communicable Diseases in India

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy & Related Issues, GS2/ Health

    In News

    • Recently, the new national estimates for diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCD) were released.

    More about the news

    • About the study:
      • The decade-long nationwide study was funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research and Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and co-ordinated by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation. 
      • The results of the study are to be published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.
    • Study highlights:
      • According to the study, in 2021, India has 101 million people with diabetes and 136 million people with prediabetes
      • Additionally, 
        • 315 million people had high blood pressure
        • 254 million had generalised obesity, and 
        • 351 million had abdominal obesity
        • 213 million people had hypercholesterolaemia (wherein fat collects in arteries and puts individuals at greater risk of heart attack and strokes) and 
        • 185 million had high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
    • Study sample:
      • The study is the first comprehensive epidemiological research paper which includes participants from 31 States and some Union Territories, with a large sample size of 1,13,043 individuals.
    • Interstate and inter-regional variations:
      • The highest diabetes prevalence was found in Goa, Puducherry and Kerala
      • While prediabetes was prevalent in Sikkim
      • Hypertension was highest in Punjab. 
      • Generalised obesity and abdominal obesity were highest in Puducherry, 
      • While Kerala had high hypercholesterolemia and high LDL cholesterol. 
      • The lowest prevalence of NCDs was found in U.P., Mizoram, Meghalaya and Jharkhand
      • This cross-sectional, population-based survey of adults aged above 20 years, across the country uses a stratified, multistage sampling design in the study titled — “Metabolic non-communicable health report of India-the ICMR-INDIAB National Cross-sectional Study.”

    About Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

    • About:
      • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are non-transmissible diseases of often long duration. 
      • NCDs have been one of the major concerns of the Health Ministry. It has identified the four major NCDs 
        • cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. 
    • Causes:
      • NCDs are driven primarily by behaviors that often start during childhood and adolescence including physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol.
    • Impact:
      • The epidemic of NCDs poses devastating health consequences for individuals, families and communities, and threatens to overwhelm health systems.
      •  The socioeconomic costs associated with NCDs make the prevention and control of these diseases a major development imperative for the 21st century.
      • Estimates suggest that approximately 70 percent of the premature deaths that occur among adults stem from health-related behaviors that originate in childhood and adolescence.
      • Apart from the lives they take, NCDs take a heavy toll on economies, cutting down people in their most productive years

    Significance of the study

    • There are two big trend indicators in the study:
      • Diabetes and other metabolic non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, obesity and dyslipidemia are much more common than estimated previously in India and ,
      • While currently urban regions had higher rates of all metabolic NCDs than rural areas, with the exception of prediabetes, rural India will see a diabetes explosion in the next five years if left unregulated.
    • Urgency of policies:
      • While the diabetes epidemic is stabilising in the more developed States of the country, it is still increasing in most of the other States
      • Thus, there are serious implications for the nation, warranting urgent State-specific policies and interventions to arrest the rapidly rising epidemic of metabolic NCDs in India
    • Impact for India:
      • While India in the past four years has substantially added to its burden of diabetics and hypertensive persons with generalised and abdominal obesity, the study gives us an early warning that if not controlled, this population is predisposed to NCDs and life-altering medical conditions including strokes.
      • Experts have explained that India is facing the dual problem of malnutrition and obesity
        • There is availability of surplus food, but after being exposed to fast foods, a lack of sleep, exercise and stress creates a perfect setting for NCDs to latch-on.

    Initiatives of India 

    • National Health Mission (NHM):
      • The Department of Health & Family Welfare provides technical and financial support to the States/UTs under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS), (launched in 2010) as part of National Health Mission (NHM), based on the proposals received from the States/UTs and subject to the resource envelope. 
      • The programme focuses on strengthening infrastructure, human resource development, health promotion & awareness generation for prevention, early diagnosis, management and referral to an appropriate level of healthcare facility for treatment of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
    • Ayushman Bharat Health Wellness Centre scheme:
      • Preventive aspect of NCDs is strengthened under Comprehensive Primary Health Care through Ayushman Bharat Health Wellness Centre scheme, by promotion of wellness activities and targeted communication at the community level. 
    • Other initiatives for increasing public awareness about NCDs and for promotion of healthy lifestyle includes 
      • Observation of National & International Health Days and 
      • Use of print, electronic and social media for continued community awareness
      • Furthermore, healthy eating is also promoted through FSSAI.
      • Fit India movement is implemented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and various Yoga related activities are carried out by the Ministry of AYUSH. 
      • The Health department is taking up a new initiative as part of the NCD Control programme to conduct population-based screening for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and its risk factors, covering the entire State.
        • The idea is to prepare a Statewide community registry of those above 30 years with NCDs with the support of local self- governments, so that the State has a clear estimation of the actual population suffering from various NCDs.

    Way ahead

    • Programmes have been brought in to 
      • Strengthen health infrastructure, 
      • Human resource development, 
      • Health-promotion and awareness-generation for prevention, early diagnosis and 
      • Ensuring referrals to appropriate healthcare facilities for treatment of NCDs.
    • The answer to this developing pandemic is in wellness and in having a lifestyle that encompasses healthy diet and exercise. 
    • There is a need for a substantial increase in investments in health and health systems to get back on track towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Source: TH

     

         Compromise Settlement for Wilful Defaulters

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

    In News

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has allowed wilful defaulters and loans accounts involved in frauds to go in for a compromise settlement with banks to settle their dues.

    What is Compromise settlement?

    • A compromise settlement refers to a negotiated settlement where a borrower offers to pay and the bank agrees to accept in full and final, settlement of its dues an amount less than the total amount due to them under the relative loan contract.
    • This settlement invariably involves a certain sacrifice by way of write off and/or waiver of a portion of its dues on a one-time basis.

    What is a wilful default?

    • As per the RBI’s classification, a ‘wilful default’ occurs if the borrower has defaulted in meeting their repayment obligations to the lender even when they have the capacity to honour the said obligations.
    • A wilful default happens when the borrower has not utilised the finance from the lender for the specific purpose for which finance was availed, and has diverted the funds for other purposes, siphoned off funds, or disposed of or removed the movable fixed assets or immovable property given for the purpose of securing a term loan without the knowledge of the bank.

     RBI stand

    • Before:In its ‘Prudential Framework for Resolution of Stressed Assets’, RBI made it clear that borrowers who committed fraud/ malfeasance/ wilful default would remain ineligible for restructuring.
    • Now:In RBI’s latest ‘Framework for compromise settlements and technical write-offs’ banks can undertake compromise settlements or technical write-offs in respect of accounts categorised as wilful defaulters without prejudice to the criminal proceeding underway against such debtors.
    • Why is loan recovery important? Recovery of debts protects the interest of the depositors and other stakeholders. If banks do not recover NPAs, then ultimately, depositors and other stakeholders will suffer.

    Concerns

    • Evergreening:Restructuring is often misused by banks and corporations for evergreening of loans.
    • Distressing message to honest borrowers who strive to meet their financial obligations.Also It can lead to erosion of public trust and undermines the confidence of depositors in the banking sector.
    • Huge losses for banks:In the last two decades, banks have approved several compromise settlements with huge haircuts.Thus impacts the financial stability of banks.
    • Burden on ordinary citizens:By allowing compromise settlement , the RBI is effectively condoning the actions of defaulters and placing the burden of their misdeeds on the shoulders of ordinary citizens.

    Key Economic Terms

    • Haircuts: A haircut is the difference between the loan amount and the actual value of the asset used as collateral. It reflects the lender’s perception of the risk of fall in the value of assets.
    • But in the context of loan recoveries, it is the difference between the actual dues from a borrower and the amount he/she  settles with the bank.
    • Evergreening of loans: Evergreening of loans is a practice by which banks extend fresh loans to a borrower who is on the verge of a default,helping them repay old loans.

    Source:IE

     

    Status of Remittances: World Bank

    Syllabus:GS 3/Economy

    In News

    • Recently, the World Bank released its latest Migration and Development Brief.

    Major Highlights 

    • The remittance flows are expected to reach $840 billion in 2023 for the world.
      • In 2024, the remittances growth rate globally is projected to increase to 2.0% in 2024, increasing inflows by $18 billion.
    • Region Wise: The growth of remittances is likely to be the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean (forecast of 3.3%), as the labour market in the US continues to be strong.
      • Remittance growth is expected to be the lowest in South Asia (0.3%), mainly because of the high base in 2022 along with slowing demand for highly skilled IT workers in the US and Europe.
      • Remittance flows to the six South Asian countries will also be limited by demand for migrants in the GCC countries where declining oil prices are expected to slow growth from 5.3% in 2022 to 3% in 2023.
      • Remittance flows to low– and middleincome countries (LMICs) are expected to moderate to 1.4% in 2023, resulting in total inflows of $656 billion.

    Scenario in India 

    • Earlier, The World Bank had estimated a record $100 billion in remittance inflows for India in 2022.
      • In the latest update, the World Bank has revised this number to $111 billion on the back of strong labour market conditions and wage hikes in the high-income destination economies, and higher energy prices in the GCC countries, a key destination for less-skilled migrants.
      • The top sources of remittances for India:  Almost 36% of India’s remittances are from the high-skilled and largely high-tech Indian migrants in three high-income destinations — the US, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. 
        • The post-pandemic recovery led to a tight labour market in these regions, and wage hikes boosted remittances.

    Why are remittances important?

    • In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, remittances are being viewed as a critical financial inflow, and an important source of foreign exchange for several countries including those in South Asia.
    • Remittances are highly complementary to government cash transfers and essential to households during times of need.
    • Remittances have become a financial lifeline in many economies through the pandemic and will become even more so in the foreseeable future.

    Issues and Concerns 

    • Slower growth in OECD economies — especially in the high-tech sector in the United States that could affect the demand for information technology (IT) workers and lead to a diversion of formal remittances toward informal money transfer channels — is likely to impact the flow of remittances this year.
    • Slowing demand for migrants in the GCC countries and weak balance-of-payments conditions and exchange controls are expected to divert remittances to informal money transfer channels in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka
    • The projected decline in GDP growth from 2.8% in 2022 to approximately 1.0% in 2023 and 2024 will erode many of the employment and income gains that East Asia’s high-skilled migrants reaped in 2022, dampening remittance flows to the region in 2023.
    • Lower fuel prices in 2023 will further dampen demand for migrants in the GCC countries, reducing remittance flows to East Asia and the Pacific Islands
    • In Europe and Central Asia, the growth in remittances is expected to fall to 1% due to a high base effect, lingering weakness in flows to Ukraine and Russia, and a weaker Russian ruble against the US dollar. 

    Suggestions 

    • Recognize the complexity and the increasing necessity of cross-border movements.
    • Distinguish between various types of movements to identify appropriate policy responses.
    • Maximize net gains when people bring skills and attributes that strongly match the needs of their destination society—for them, their countries of destination, and their countries of origin.
    • Provide international protection to refuges in a manner that can be sustained, financially and socially—because most refugee situations last many years.
    • There is a pressing need to improve relevant data collection systems. 
    • India can attract more NRI money with modern fintech tools such as the UPI linkages which prove faster and cheaper than the traditional money transfer systems such as the SWIFT.

    What is a remittance?

    • The World Bank defines it as “the sum of worker’s remittances, compensation of employees, and migrants’ transfers as recorded in the IMF Balance of Payments. Workers remittances are current transfers by migrant who are considered residents in the source.”
    • Remittances are a vital source of household income for low- and middle-income countries.

    ‘Landfall’ of a cyclone

    Syllabus : GS 1/Geography 

    In News

    • The landfall process of Cyclone Biparjoy started near Jakhau port in the state’s Kutch district and continued till midnight.

    What is the “landfall” of a cyclone?

    • Landfall is the event of a tropical cyclone coming onto land after being over water. 
    • As per the IMD, a tropical cyclone is said to have made landfall when the center of the storm – or its eye – moves over the coast.

    Impact

    • The damage caused by the landfall will depend on the severity of the cyclone – marked by the speed of its winds. 
    • For Cyclone Biparjoy, classified by the IMD as a “very severe cyclonic storm”, the impact may include extensive damage to kutcha houses, partial disruption of power and communication lines, minor disruption of rail and road traffic, the potential threat from flying debris and flooding of escape
    • The factors behind this kind of damage include extremely strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge which cause devastating floods on the coast.

    How long does a landfall last?

    • Landfalls can last for a few hours, with their exact duration depending on the speed of the winds and the size of the storm system. 
    • Cyclone Biparjoy’s land process is expected to last around five to six hours, with the cyclone almost completely dissipating over approximately the next 24 hours.
    • Cyclones lose their intensity once they move over land because of a sharp reduction of moisture supply and an increase in surface friction. 
    • This means that while landfalls are often the most devastating moments of cyclones, they also mark the beginning of their end.

    Landfall vs Direct Hit

    • Crucially a landfall should not be confused with a ‘direct hit’, which refers to a situation where the core of high winds (or eyewall) comes onshore but the centre of the storm may stay remain offshore. 
    • As per the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), because the strongest winds in a tropical cyclone are not located precisely at the centre, it is possible for a cyclone’s strongest winds to be experienced over land even if landfall does not occur.

    What are tropical cyclones?

     

    • Tropical cyclones are those which develop in the regions between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. 
    • They are the most devastating storms on Earth. 
    • Tropical cyclones have different names depending on their location and strength. 
      • Tropical cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing about large scale destruction caused by violent winds, very heavy rainfall and storm surges.
      • This is one of the most devastating natural calamities. 
      • They are known as Cyclones in the Indian Ocean, Hurricanes in the Atlantic, Typhoons in the Western Pacific and South China Sea, and Willy-willies in the Western Australia

    Source:IE