Daily Current Affairs – 18-05-2023

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    Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update

    Syllabus: GS 3/Environment

    In News

    • Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update.

    About Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update

    • It is produced annually in May and summarizes the predicted future of the global climate over the next year and the next five years. 
    • The focus is on climate indices such as global mean near-surface temperature, Atlantic multidecadal variability, and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, as well as regional indices and annual and multi-year seasonal means of near-surface temperature, mean sea-level pressure, and precipitation. 

    Findings 

    • Global temperatures are likely to surge to record levels in the next five years, fuelled by heat-trapping greenhouse gases and a naturally occurring El Niño event. 
      • The annual mean global near-surface temperature for each year between 2023 and 2027 is predicted to be between 1.1°C and 1.8°C higher than the 1850-1900 average. 
        • This is used as a baseline because it was before the emission of greenhouse gases from human and industrial activities.
    • There is a 66% chance that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year.  
    • There is a 98% chance that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.
    • Arctic warming is disproportionately high. 
      • Compared to the 1991-2020 average, the temperature anomaly is predicted to be more than three times as large as the global mean anomaly when averaged over the next five northern hemisphere extended winters.
    • Predicted precipitation patterns for the May to September 2023-2027 average, compared to the 1991-2020 average, suggest increased rainfall in the Sahel, northern Europe, Alaska, and northern Siberia, and reduced rainfall for this season over the Amazon and parts of Australia.

    Implications 

    • A warming El Niño is expected to develop in the coming months and this will combine with human-induced climate change to push global temperatures into uncharted territory. 
    • In addition to increasing global temperatures, human-induced greenhouse gases are leading to more ocean heating and acidification, sea ice and glacier melt, sea level rise, and more extreme weather.
    • This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management, and the environment.

    Suggestions and Way Ahead 

    • This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5C specified in the Paris Agreement, which refers to long-term warming over many years.
    • However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency.
    • There is a need to strengthen weather and climate services to support climate change adaptation. 
    • The focus should be on the ongoing Early Warnings for All initiative to protect people from increasingly extreme weather 

    Do you Know?

    • The 2015 Paris Agreement is a legally binding international climate treaty, approved by world leaders attending the Climate Conference, COP21. It was adopted by 196 countries on December 12, 2015, and entered into force on November 4, 2016.
      • The Paris Agreement’s main goal is to limit global warming by keeping average global temperatures “well below two, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius”, in comparison with pre-industrial levels.
    • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5 °C than at present but lower than at 2 °C.

    Source: TH

     

    Competition Commission of India (CCI)

    Syllabus: GS 2 / Governance 

    In News 

    • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Ravneet Kaur, a 1988-batch IAS officer, as the first woman chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). 

    Ravneet Kaur

    • She has been appointed as CCI chairperson for a period of five years from the date of taking charge, or till the age of 65 years, or until further orders.
    • She is the first woman to head the CCI. She is also the second woman to head an ‘economic regulator’ role after Madhabi Puri Buch, who was appointed chairperson of the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2022.
    • The CCI had been without a full-time chairperson since Ashok Kumar Gupta demitted office in October 2022. Sangeeta Verma, a CCI member, had been serving as the acting chairperson since.

    Competition Commission of India (CCI)

    • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body within the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and is responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002. 
    • The CCI was established in 2003.
    • It consists of a Chairperson and not more than 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
    • The Director General (DG) Office is the investigative wing of the CCI, which commences investigation once the Commission passes a prima facie order directing the DG to do so.

    Competition Act, 2002

    • The Competition Act, 2002 prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
    • The Competition Act, 2002 replaced the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969. 
    • The Competition Act, 2002 was amended in 2007 and again in 2009. In 2009, the antitrust provisions of the law came into force.

    Competition (Amendment) Act, 2023

    • It amends the Competition Act, 2002 to ensure regulatory certainty and foster a trust-based business environment.
    • The definition of turnover under the law has been enlarged to mean “global turnover from all products and services of a contravening enterprise”. It provides for the CCI to impose penalties on entities based on their ‘global turnover’ instead of considering only relevant ‘market turnover’ that is followed right now.
    • It empowers the CCI to pass orders in relation to anti-competitive agreements and the “abuse of dominant position”, by imposing a penalty that can either go up to 10% of the average income or turnover for the three preceding financial years.
    • Firms penalised by the CCI must pay at least 25% of the penalties levied on them, for their appeals to be heard by an appellate tribunal. 
    • It provides certainty to stakeholders by prescribing a limitation period of three years for filing information on anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position.
    • It has introduced the concept of “Deal Value Threshold” for notifying mergers and acquisitions (M&As) to CCI to address killer acquisitions in the digital market.
    • To make approvals for M&As time-bound, the Bill cuts the overall time limit for assessment to 150 days, from 210 days, from the date of filing of notice by the involved parties. The CCI will have to frame a “prima facie opinion” within a time-period of 30 days from the receipt of such notice, failing which the combination shall be considered as deemed approved. 
    • The changes will also give the CCI a greater say in M&As, as entities will have to seek its approval if deals are worth more than ?2,000 crore, and if both parties have substantial business operations in India.
    • It introduces ‘Settlement and Commitment Framework’ for faster market correction and reduced litigations.
    • It has introduced a “Leniency Plus” regime under which the CCI could also incentivise parties in ongoing cartel investigations in terms of lesser penalty to disclose information regarding other cartels.
    • The revised law provides for appointment of Director General (Investigation) by the CCI. So far, the Centre has been appointing the DG (Investigation).
    • The Bill decriminalises certain offences under the Act by changing the nature of punishment from imposition of fine to civil penalties. These offences include failure to comply with orders of the CCI and directions of the Director General related to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position.

    Source: ET

    Fertilizer Subsidy

    Syllabus: GS3/ Agricultural Resources

    In News 

    • The Union Cabinet approved a Rs. 1.08 lakh crore subsidy for the ongoing kharif or monsoon season.

    About 

    • Out of this, Rs. 38,000 crore will subsidise phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilizers, while Rs. 70,000 crore will go toward the urea subsidy.
    • With fertilizer prices continuing to remain high due to global factors — such as a fall in production and hiked logistics costs, especially due to the Ukraine situation — the Centre expects this year’s fertilizer subsidy to cross Rs. 2.25 lakh crore. Last year, the total fertilizer subsidy was about Rs. 2.56 lakh crore.

    Fertilizer Subsidy Schemes

    • The Department of Fertilizers implements different fertilizer subsidy schemes with different subsidy components from time to time to ensure timely and easy availability of different fertilizers at affordable prices. 
    • At present, (i) Urea ; (ii) 21-grades of P&K-fertilizers & (iii) City Compost are covered under the subsidy schemes implemented by the Department of Fertilizers.

    Urea Subsidy: 

    • The urea is sold at a Maximum Retail Price (MRP) statutorily fixed by the Government of India. 
    • The difference between delivery cost of urea at farm gate and net market realization by the urea units is given as a subsidy to the urea manufacturer / importer by the Government of India.

    Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS): 

    • The Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy for P&K fertilizers has been implemented since 2010 by the Department of Fertilizers. 
    • Under the NBS Policy, the Government provides a fixed rate of subsidy (in Rs. Per Kg basis) on each nutrient of subsidized P&K fertilizers. MRP of P&K fertilizers has been left open and fertilizer manufacturers / marketers are allowed to fix the MRP at reasonable rates.

    Promotion of City Compost: 

    • The Department of Fertilizers notified the scheme for promotion of City Compost in 2016. 
    • Under the scheme, Market Development Assistance (MDA) in the form of a fixed amount of Rs.1500/- per MT of City Compost will be provided for scaling up production and consumption of the product.

    Source: TH

    Doubled outlay on PLI for IT hardware

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy & Related Issues, Growth & Development

    In News

    • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently approved an updated Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for IT hardware manufacturing.

    More about the news

    • About:
      • The PLI scheme for IT hardware was first notified in March 2021. 
      • The scheme provides upwards of 4% in incentives for incremental investment in domestic manufacturing for eligible firms, which include companies like Dell and Flextronics.
      • Based on industry feedback on improving the previous version of the scheme, the Cabinet has approved the changes.
    • Significance of the sector:
      • Electronics manufacturing in India has witnessed consistent growth with 17% CAGR in the last 8 years.
        • This year it crossed a major benchmark in production – $105 billion
      • India crossed $11 billion in mobile phone exports, and was now the second-largest mobile handset manufacturer, trailing only China.
    • Challenges:
      • The IT Hardware manufacturing sector faces the lack of a level playing field vis-à-vis competing nations. 
      • As per industry estimates, electronics manufacturing sector suffers from a disability of around 8.5% to 11% on account of lack of 
        • Adequate infrastructure, 
        • Domestic supply chain and logistics; 
        • High cost of finance; 
        • Inadequate availability of quality power; 
        • Limited design capabilities and focus on R&D by the industry; and 
        • Inadequacies in skill development. 
      • There is a need for a mechanism to compensate for the manufacturing disabilities vis-à-vis other major manufacturing economies.

    Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme

    • About:
      • The Finance Minister announced the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes across 13 key sectors.
        • It will create national manufacturing champions and generate employment opportunities for the country’s youth. 
    • Aim & Objectives:
      • To give companies incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in domestic units.
      • To encourage local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing units.
      • It also invites foreign companies to set units in India along with encouraging local companies to set up or expand existing manufacturing units.
      • The goal is to make India more compliant with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments and also make it non-discriminatory and neutral with respect to domestic sales and exports.
    • Implimentation:
      • The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA) and be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support and carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by MeitY from time to time.
    • PLI for for IT Hardware:
      • Support under the Scheme shall be provided to companies based on the eligibility criteria laid down, for manufacturing of goods (covered under the target segment) in India.
      • The Target Segment under PLI shall include (i) Laptops (ii) Tablets (iii) All-in-One PCs and (iv) Servers.

    The Semiconductor and electronics sector in India

    • India has a great scope to emerge as a sizable player in electronics and semiconductor products manufacturing as part of China-plus-one diversification strategy.
      • China Plus One:
    • The strategy is also known simply as Plus One, is the business strategy to avoid investing only in China and diversify business into other countries. 
    • For the last 20 years, western companies have invested in China, drawn in by their low production costs, and enormous domestic consumer markets.
    • Growth:
      • The country’s electronics and semiconductor products manufacturing sector has witnessed a quantum growth in the last almost a decade. 
      • Import & manufacturing:
        • In 2014 some 92% of the mobile devices sold in the country were imported while in 2022 some 97% of mobile devices were manufactured in the country. 
      • Potential:
        • In 2014, the country’s electronics ecosystem that comprises manufacturing, designing, innovation and production pegged $10 billion, and in 2022 it grew to $75 billion and expected to cross $300 billion by 2025-26.
      • FDI in the sector:
        • Electronics and semiconductor sector captured 66% of the FDI that came to India in the last three years.
    • Sector specific production:
      • The electronic devices industry is segmented as Mobile Phones (24%), Consumer Electronics (22%), Strategic Electronics (12%), Computer Hardware (7%), LEDs (2%) and Industrial Electronics (34%) comprising Auto, Medical and other industrial electronic products.
    • Demand:
      • Technology transitions such as the rollout of 5G networks and IoT are driving the accelerated adoption of electronics products. 
      • Initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart City’ projects have raised the demand for IoT in the electronics devices market and will undoubtedly usher in a new era for electronic products.

    Source: IE

    Pir Panjal valley

    Syllabus: GS1/Geography

    In News

    • Militant activity has claimed more casualties in the Pir Panjal valley than in the Kashmir valley this year.

    About

    • Militants are changing tack in the Pir Panjal valley to outsmart the security agencies and survive longer in a region with topography as tough as Afghanistan’s mountains.
    • The valley comprises the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch, and includes 225 km of the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
    • The questioning of residents living in and around has thrown a light on the new modus operandi used by militants after infiltrating into the jungles of the Pir Panjal valley.
    • It is not just the spike in militant activities in Rajouri-Poonch that is a cause of concern among security agencies, but also the change in strategy, the use of “smarter” sleeper cells, the impenetrable means of communication, the use of technology, and the high level of training that militants are being given to fight and survive in hostile forests.

    Pir Panjal valley

    • The Pir Panjal is a sub-Range of Himalayas and it runs from the Neelam River in J&K all the way to the Beas River in Kullu in Himachal Pradesh extending into Pakistan.
    • Near the bank of the Satluj river, it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the rivers Beas and Ravi on one side and the Chenab on the other. 
    • On the eastern side of Pir Panjal range is the famous Rohtang pass which connects two districts of Himachal Pradesh namely Kullu & Lahaul and Spiti. 
      • This pass is a gateway for the people of Lahaul Valley who wants to go to Kullu or other parts of Himachal. 
    • Easternmost and highest point of this range is Mt. Indrasan is located in Manali, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. 
    • Highest Pass in Pir Panjal range is Kugti Pass which connects Bharmour area of Chamba to Lahaul Valley of Lahaul-Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh.

    Source: TH
     

    Hysterectomy

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    In News

    • States and UTs were instructed by the Supreme Court to implement health guidelines formulated by the Centre to monitor “unnecessary” hysterectomies within three months.

    About

    • In the States of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan “unnecessary hysterectomies” were carried out under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana as well as other government schemes related to healthcare.
    • The petitioners claimed that several healthcare institutions were found to be misusing the procedure only to claim high insurance fees from governments under various health insurance schemes.
    • In developed countries hysterectomies are typically conducted among premenopausal women above the age of 45 years, in India, community-based studies have consistently found rising hysterectomy rates among young women, ranging from 28 to 36 years old.

    What is Hysterectomy?

    • It is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, and sometimes surrounding organs and tissues.
    • When only the uterus is removed, it is called a partial hysterectomy. When the uterus and cervix are removed, it is called a total hysterectomy.
    • When the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina, and a wide area of ligaments and tissues around these organs are removed, it is called a radical hysterectomy.
    • These procedures may be done through the vagina (with no incisions in the abdomen) or through an incision (cut) in the abdomen.

    Way Ahead

    • The right to health is an intrinsic element of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Life, to be enjoyed in all its diverse elements, must be based on robust conditions of health. There has been a serious violation of the fundamental rights of the women who underwent unnecessary hysterectomies.
    • Compulsory audits for all hysterectomies should be conducted. 
    • Proper compliance with the guidelines to prevent unnecessary hysterectomies’.

    Source: TH

    75/25 initiative (Hypertension)

    Syllabus: GS 2 / Health

    In News 

    • To mark the World Hypertension Day (May 17), the Union Health Ministry has launched the 75/25 initiative and the Shashakt Portal. 

    About

    • Under the 75/25 initiative, the Union Health Ministry aims at screening and putting 75 million people with hypertension and diabetes on standard care by 2025.
    • The Shashakt Portal has been launched for training of 40,000 Primary Health Care Medical Officers on Standard Treatment Workflow for  non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

    National Programme for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD)

    • The Revised operational guidelines of National Programme for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD) were also released with the aim of much wider coverage.  
    • The programme is now providing services for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases NAFLD), ST Elevation of Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) apart from Hypertension, Diabetes and three common Cancers including Oral, Breast and Cervical. 

    Hypertension 

    • Blood pressure is written as two numbers. 
      • The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. 
      • The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.
    • Hypertension is diagnosed if, when it is measured on two different days, the systolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure readings on both days is ≥90 mmHg.
    • Risk factors: Things that increase the risk of having high blood pressure include: older age,  genetics, being overweight or obese, not being physically active, high-salt diet and drinking too much alcohol.
    • Prevention & Treatment: It is common but can be serious if not treated. Lifestyle changes like eating a healthier diet, quitting tobacco and being more active can help lower blood pressure. Some people may still need to take medicines.

    Source: TH

    Rasht-Astara Railway

    Syllabus:GS 2/International Relations 

    In News

    • The Russian President and his Iranian counterpart signed a deal to finance and build an Iranian railway line as part of an embryonic international North–South Transport Corridor.

    About Rasht-Astara railway

    • It is seen as an important link in the corridor, intended to connect India, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, and other countries via railways and sea — a route that Russia says can rival the Suez Canal as a major global trade route.
    • Significance 
      • The 162 km railway along the Caspian Sea coast would help to connect Russian ports on the Baltic Sea with Iranian ports in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf.
      • It is an important and strategic step in the direction of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.
      • It will help to significantly diversify global traffic flows.

    The Suez Canal

    • It is an artificial sea-level waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. 
    • The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and Western Pacific oceans.
    •  It is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes.??
    • It is one of the most important waterways in the world.

    The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

    • It is a multi-modal transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran and onward to northern Europe via St. Petersburg in Russia.
    • INSTC is India’s vision and initiative to reduce the time taken for EXIM shipments to reach Russia, and Europe and enter the central Asian markets.

    Do you know?

    • Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that swept U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi from power, Iran has been ostracised by the West, and its economy is crippled by a myriad of sanctions. It holds around a quarter of the Middle East’s oil reserves.
    • The West also imposed other sets of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, while Russia was sanctioned due to its actions in Ukraine.

    Source: TH