Daily Current Affairs – 22-06-2023

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    Global Gender Gap Index

    Syllabus: GS 2/International Reports/Index

    In News

    • Recently, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released its annual Gender Gap Report 2023.

    About Global Gender Gap Index 

    • The Global Gender Gap Index annually benchmarks the current state and evolution of gender parity across four key dimensions 
      • Economic Participation and Opportunity
      • Educational Attainment,
      • Health and Survival, and 
      • Political Empowerment. 
    • It is the longeststanding index tracking the progress of numerous countries’ efforts toward closing these gaps over time since its inception in 2006.
    • The goal of the report is to offer a consistent annual metric for the assessment of progress over time.
    • The index and the analysis focus on benchmarking parity between women and men across countries and regions.

    Major Highlights 2023 report

    • Global Scenario: The global gender gap score in 2023 for all 146 countries included in this edition stands at 68.4% closed. 
      • According to the Index, no country has yet achieved full gender parity, although the top nine countries (Iceland, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Nicaragua, Namibia, and Lithuania) have closed at least 80% of their gap. 

    Position of India

    • India was ranked 127 out of 146 countries in terms of gender parity — an improvement of eight places from 2022.
      • India was ranked 135 in the report’s 2022 edition. 
    • The country had attained parity in enrolment across all levels of education.
    • India had closed 64.3% of the overall gender gap.
      • However, it underlined that India had reached only 36.7 % parity on economic participation and opportunity.
    • In India, while there had been an uptick in parity in wages and income, the share of women in senior positions and technical roles had dropped slightly since the last edition.
    • On political empowerment, India has registered 25.3% parity, with women representing 15.1% of parliamentarians — the highest for the country since the inaugural report in 2006.
    • For India, the 1.9 percentage point improvement in the sex ratio at birth had driven up parity after more than a decade of slow progress.

    Challenges 

    • The state of gender parity in the labour market remains a major challenge.
    •  Not only has women’s participation in the labour market globally slipped in recent years, but other markers of economic opportunity have been showing substantive disparities between women and men.
    • Women remain significantly underrepresented in the STEM workforce. 
    • Women and men currently do not have equal opportunities and access to online platforms, given the persistent digital divide.
    • Much like in the case of the representation of women in business leadership, gender gaps in political leadership continue to persist. 

    Suggestions 

    • Increasing women’s economic participation and achieving gender parity in leadership, in both business and government, are two key levers for addressing broader gender gaps in households, societies, and economies. 
    • Collective, coordinated, and bold action by private- and public-sector leaders will be instrumental in accelerating progress toward gender parity and igniting renewed growth and greater resilience. 
    •  We hope the data and analysis provided in this report can further accelerate the speed of travel towards parity by catalysing and informing action by the public- and private-sector leaders in their efforts to close the global gender gap.

    Source: TH

     ‘NATO plus five’ Status

    Syllabus: GS2/ International

    In News

    • Recently, the US Congress Committee recommended introducing legislation to give India ‘NATO plus five’ defence status.

    What is NATO plus five?

    • NATO Plus, currently NATO Plus 5, is a security arrangement that brings together NATO and five aligned nations – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and South Korea – to boost defence cooperation and intelligence ties.

    Benefit to India

    • Including India in NATO Plus security arrangements would facilitate seamless intelligence sharing between these countries and India would access the latest military technology without much of a time lag. 
    • It would build upon the US and India’s close partnership to strengthen global security and deter the aggression of China across the Indo-Pacific region.

    Concerns

    • Breaking India-Russia ties: If India joins the US-led NATO alliance which is backing Ukraine in the current war with Russia, it will directly impact India’s relations with Russia.
    • Against the principle of NAM:The main aim of the Non-Aligned Movement   (NAM) was that its members remain neutral and did not join any power block.

    India’s Stand

    • India refused to join NATO  and stated that joining this Western alliance is not in India’s favour.

    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

    • NATO, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance.
    • Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium
    • Background: It was established by 12 countries from Europe and North America with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as Washington Treaty) in 1949 in Washington, D.C to provide collective security against the Soviet Union attack in the aftermath of World War II.
    • Collective Defence: According to Article 5, NATO works on the principle of collective defence, where an attack on any NATO member is considered an attack on all NATO members, So far, Article 5 has been invoked once – in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001.
    • Members: It comprises 31 member states – two North American countries (USA and Canada) 28 European countries and one eurasian country (Turkey). Finland became the 31st member in 2023.
    • Criteria for Membership of NATO: 
      • Under NATO’s “open door policy” based on Article 10, membership at present is open to only European nations.
      • These countries must fulfil certain criterias such as “a functioning democracy based on a market economy; fair treatment of minorities; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; and making military contribution to NATO operations.
      • New members are admitted with the unanimous consent of all members. 

    Reference:TH

     

    Draft Livestock and Livestock Products Bill 

    Syllabus: GS2/  Government Policies & Interventions, Indian Economy

    In Context

    • The Union government has withdrawn the proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (Importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023.

    About

    • The Bill is meant to replace the Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, and the Live-stock (Amendment) Act, 2001. 
    • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), which comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, prepared the draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Products (Importation and Exportation) Bill-2023. 
    • It frames guidelines for the import and export of live animals, which has raised concerns among animal lovers.

    Salient Provisions

    • The bill is different from the existing law in three key aspects:
      • It allows export of live animals, 
      • It widens the scope of animal import-export (including cats and dogs among ‘live-stock’), and 
      • Takes away some powers of state governments to regulate this area.
    • Regulation of live-stock export:
      • The earlier law regulates only importation of live-stock, while the proposed draft Bill has provisions to regulate live-stock exports also. 
      • The proposed Bill provides the government the power to make arrangements for promotion and development of exports of live-stock and live-stock products.
    • Expanded definition of live-stock:
      • The proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023 has expanded the definition of live-stock to include feline and canines as well. 
      • Live-stocks and live-stock products as “commodity”:
        • Besides, the Centre has defined the live-stocks and live-stock products as commodities in the proposed draft Bill. 

    Need of the law

    • The present law that regulates import of live-stock is 125 years old
      • “The Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, being the pre-constitutional/pre-independence Central Act, a need has been felt to align it with the contemporary requirements and prevailing circumstances related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, and its extant Allocation of Business Rules, 1961.

    Criticisms/Reasons for withdrawal

    • Spoiling the gene pool of native animals: Activists say that this will open floodgates for unregulated, large scale import and export of animals and also spoil the gene pool of native animals.
    • Disease risk: A large number of native animals are being exported to climates that are not conducive to them.  This bill, if enacted, may also increase the disease risk.
    • Promotion of cruelties on animals: Animal rights organisations have said that the draft Bill will open a “Pandora’s Box” of cruelties on animals.
      • In 2022-23, India exported $5.11 million worth of live animals, the bulk of which was sheep and goats.
      • Most of these animals are exported during festivals to West Asian countries. 

    Centre’s move

    •  The Centre has withdrawn the Bill

    Livestock Sector

    • It is an important subsector of agriculture in the Indian economy. It grew at a CAGR of 8.15 per cent during 2014-15 to 2019-20 (at constant prices).
    • Livestock plays an important role in the Indian economy. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households.  
    • Dairy is the single-largest agri commodity in India. It contributes 5% to the national economy and employs 80 million dairy farmers directly.

    Source: TH

    Kalasa Banduri Project

    Syllabus: GS 2/Polity and Governance

    In News

    • The Kalasa Banduri project in Karnataka is stuck again.

    About Kalasa-Banduri project

    • The Kalasa-Banduri project aims to divert water from Mahadayi to satisfy the drinking water needs of the Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Gadag districts in Karnataka.
    • As per the plans, barrages are to be built on Kalasa and Banduri streams — tributaries of Mahadayi — and water diverted towards Karnataka’s parched districts. 
    • Though the project was first proposed in the early 1980s, it has remained on paper owing to a dispute between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.

    Issues

    • The impacts of such development projects are adverse, especially when it comes to natural resources and the need to share them between different states/territories
    • Goa and Maharashtra governments issued a joint statement saying that they will put up a united fight against Karnataka in connection with the water diversion project.

    The tribunal action

    • In November 2010, the UPA government at the Centre had set up a tribunal to settle disputes between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. 
      • In 2018, the tribunal awarded 13.42 TMC water from Mahadayi river basin to Karnataka, 1.33 TMC to Maharashtra and 24 TMC to Goa. 
      • The same was notified by the Union Government in February 2020.

    Revised proposal

    • The Karnataka government submitted a revised proposal to the National Wildlife Board and MoEFC in connection with the Mahadayi project, The government sought permission to divert 26.92 hectares of forest land for non-forest purposes.

    Conclusion 

    •  Transboundary water agreements must be sufficiently robust to address rising environmental and climatic factors as well as changes in society and population.
    • Proper planning, growth, and management are essential to meet the current and future water needs and to respond to a possible water shortage. 

    Mahadayi /Mandovi 

    • It originates in the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in the Belagavi district of Karnataka and flows into the Arabian Sea in Goa.
    • It flows through Goa, Karnataka, and Maharashtr

    Source: TH

     

    Psychiatric Care

    Syllabus: GS1/ Society, GS2/ Health

    In News

    • According to National Health Mission estimates, 6%-7% of India’s population suffers from mental disorders — i.e., one in four families is likely to have at least one member with a behavioural or mental health disorder. 

    Impact Of Covid-19

    • The situation worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Long periods of isolation, the fear of losing loved ones, financial difficulty, and uncertainty about the future increased stress levels across social segments. 

    Why is it a concern? 

    • Ignorance and social stigma: Most of these cases remain untreated due to ignorance and social stigma. In the absence of visible illness, deviations are treated as attitudinal issues, marital troubles, financial problems or job stress, while love affairs and examination stress are cited as the usual culprits in the case of teenage behavioral issues. 
    • A lack of trained specialists hinders cost-effective intervention model implementation. India has 43 State-run mental health institutions with 3,800 psychiatrists and 900 clinical psychologists — i.e., one psychiatrist and psychologist for every four lakh and 16 lakh citizens, respectively. 
    • Insufficient budget allocation for mental health patients also raises concerns of developing intervention for psychiatric care-givers.
    • The gaps in insurance: Though private mental health institutions provide some fillip, their services are expensive and beyond reach for many. Mental illnesses are excluded from the list of ailments covered by leading medical insurers in India. 

    Caregiver stress

    • Over 90% of psychiatric patients in India live with their families/caregivers who are under considerable stress because of the physical and emotional caregiving along with the social isolation, financial difficulties and troublesome behaviour of the patient. 
    • A patient’s non-adherence to treatment, prevalent in such cases, further exacerbates caregiver stress. 
    • In larger families, the primary caregiver burden is shared among family members, but with reducing family sizes, the role falls on the spouse. 
    • Chronic mental illness in a nuclear household disrupts daily life and drains family resources. Moreover, women caregivers face challenges in balancing caregiving, career, child rearing, and household chores, and are less likely to receive informal support for psychiatric treatment.
    • Prolonged caregiving negatively impacts the psychological well-being of caregivers. Caregivers use various strategies to cope which include sharing, spirituality, hobbies, and self-gas lighting; but unhealthy coping mechanisms can negatively impact both caregivers and patients. 
    • Hence, the importance of caring for the family caregivers. Counseling services are currently provided to caregivers on request. This is not sufficient as the situation of the caregiver is similar to that of the ‘boiling frog’ where the individual might not be aware of the emotional strain, and hence will not request for support.

    Structured intervention

    • The National Mental Health Programme and the decentralised District Mental Health Programme remain focused on the patient but neglect the caregiver. 
    • Given the prolonged distress experienced by caregivers, it is essential to introduce a structured intervention programme to educate and support the caregivers of psychiatric patients. 
    • It should educate them about the illness and their roles and responsibilities, leading to a better sense of control over their own life and helping to cope with the caregiver role. 
    • Studies in developed countries show that providing support to family caregivers at the onset of the psychiatric illness of loved ones is crucial for the success of the intervention. 
    • Successful intervention models include cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducational skill building, family counselling, and peer-support. 
    • Psychoeducational meetings with the families covering topics like a brief overview of the condition, current symptoms, early warning signals of relapse, available therapies and their effectiveness, safety of treatment, typical side-effects, treatment-related expenses, burden identification, and coping mechanisms needs to be conducted. 

    Initiatives

    1. The Mental Healthcare Act 2017: It provided a corrective step with the mandate to treat mental disorders on a par with physical disorders for insurance coverage. 
    2. Schemes: Government schemes provided by public sector insurance companies such as the flagship Ayushman Bharat provide coverage for mental disorders.
    3. Civil Society: Several non-governmental organisations and community movements such as Mindroot, Lonepack, and the White Swan Foundation have been engaged in community support work for people with mental illness and their caregivers. However, given the severity of the issue, their scale remains insignificant.

    Way Ahead

    • In the backdrop of reducing family size, increasing life expectancy and poor institutional support, the caregiver burden in case of psychiatric illnesses is expected to keep worsening.
    • The lack of tailored interventions may negatively affect caregiver well-being and patient treatment participation. 
    • A comprehensive treatment of severe psychiatric illnesses in the future would need building effective partnerships between health-care professionals, informal caregivers, and psychosocial interventions, where required.

    Source: TH

     

    Facts In News

    Anna Bhagya Scheme 

    Syllabus: GS 2/Welfare Schemes

    In News

    • The ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP hit the streets in Bengaluru holding demonstrations over the implementation of the former’s poll promises, mainly the Anna Bhagya scheme.

    About Anna Bhagya Scheme 

    • Under the Anna Bhagya scheme, Karnataka plans to enhance free rice given per person in the BPL card from the current 5 kg to 10 kg. 
    • The total supply of 10 kg is estimated to cost the exchequer ₹840 crore monthly and ₹10,092 crores annually
      • The Anna Bhagya scheme is slated for launch on July 1.
    • Challenges in implementation: The Karnataka government is facing an uphill battle in implementing the Anna Bhagya scheme owing to the unavailability of the required amount of rice after the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stopped the sale of rice to state governments
    • Future outlook: Now, the Punjab government has come forward to supply the rice.

    Source: TH

    One District One Product (ODOP)

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy

    In News

    • Many states are emphasizing the promotion of “One District One Product” (ODOP) initiative.
      • Recently, the Union government allocated 145 Crores rupees to Nagaland for the purpose of Unity Mall under One District One Product (ODOP)  in Dimapur.

    What is One District One Product (ODOP)?

    • One District, One Product is an initiative to boost Indian tradition and ease of doing business. This initiative was proposed in the Budget 2023 by the Finance Minister.
    • The initiative aims to make regional products more accessible while providing capital to those who produce them.
    • Under this initiative, the state opts for and identifies at least one prime product that reflects the ideology, culture and history of that state and then offers support for its processing, storage and marketing of that product.

    Significance of the Initiative

    • It will boost the employment opportunities and development of the region.
    • It will promote the development and ease of doing business for Indian states
    • Local artisans and handicraft artists get a platform for their art.
    • The scheme supports traditional and innovative products including waste-to-wealth products, such as honey and herbal edible products.

    Unity Mall

    • Unity Malls will be based on the principle of promotion and sale of the state’s own “ODOPs (one district, one product).
    • Union Budget 2023-24 has allocated Rs 5000 crore for the construction of Unity Malls across the country
    • The unity malls would focus on the promotion and sale of the state’s own “ODOPs (one district, one product), GI products and other handicraft products, and for providing space for such products of all other States”.
    • Unity Mall aka Ekta Mall is not a novel concept, one such Ekta Mall is already operational near the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.

    Source: PIB

    India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS X)

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relation, GS3/ Defence

    In News

    • The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) launched the IndiaU.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X). It was launched against the backdrop of PM Modi’s State Visit to the U.S. in June 2023.

    INDUS-X

    • Background: In January 2023, the U.S. and Indian National Security Advisors decided to launch a “ Defence Innovation Bridge” to connect U.S. and Indian defense start-ups as part of the U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET).
    • Aim: It aims to expand the strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the two countries. 
    • Planned initiatives under INDUS-X include:
      • Mentor-Protégé Partnerships for Start-ups
      • Accelerator Program for Defense Start-ups
      • Indo-U.S. Joint Innovation Fund
      • Standardisation of Indo-U.S. certifications for technology start-ups
    • Governance: India’s Innovations for Defense Excellence (iDEX) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) are leading INDUS-X activities for Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD).

    Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)

    • About: It is a framework agreed upon by India and the U.S. for cooperation on critical and emerging technologies. It also aims to address regulatory restrictions, export controls and mobility barriers through a standing mechanism.
    • It was first announced on the sidelines of the Quad meeting in Tokyo in 2022. 
    • It involves collaboration in a range of scientific areas including; Quantum computing, Semiconductors, 5G and 6G wireless infrastructure, and Civilian space projects such as lunar exploration.
    • On the defence front, iCET aims to expand India-US cooperation in fields like artificial intelligence and military equipment. The iCET has  announced a new bilateral defence industrial cooperation roadmap that will be intended to accelerate defence technology cooperation.

    Reference:PIB

    L-20 summit(G20 Engagement Groups)

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Institutions

    In News

    • The L-20 summit is being held in Patna, Bihar from June 2023. The topics of ‘Universal Social Security’ and ‘Women and Future of Work’ will be discussed.

    Engagement Groups under G20

    • Engagement Groups, comprising non-government participants from each G20 member, provide recommendations to the G20 Leaders and contribute towards the policy-making process.
    1. Business20:   B20 is the official G20 dialogue forum representing the global business community. Established in 2010. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been designated as the Business 20 (B20) Secretariat for India’s G20 Presidency. 
    2. Civil20 (C20): was launched in 2013 to engage with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
    3. Labour20:  L20 Summit first took place formally during the French Presidency in 2011. L20 convenes trade union leaders from G20 countries
    4. Parliament20:  P20 Engagement Group, started during Canada’s Presidency in 2010, is led by Speakers from Parliaments of G20 countries. 
    5. Science20: S20 Engagement Group, comprising the national science academies of the G20 countries, was initiated during Germany’s Presidency in 2017. 
    6. Supreme Audit Institutions 20:  SAI20 is an Engagement Group introduced by the Indonesian Presidency in 2022. It is a forum to discuss the important role played by SAIs globally in ensuring transparency. 
    7. Startup20: Startup 20 Engagement Group has been initiated under G20 India presidency of 2023 which aspires to create a global narrative for supporting startups
    8. Think20: T20 as an official G20 Engagement Group, was initiated during the Mexican Presidency in 2012. It serves as an “idea bank” for the G20 by bringing together think tanks and high-level experts to discuss relevant international socio-economic issues. 
    9. Urban20
    • Urban 20 or U20 is a city diplomacy initiative, comprising cities from G20 countries. 
      • The U20 was instituted in 2017 under the leadership of Mayors of Buenos Aires(Argentina) and Paris
      • C40(Cities Climate Leadership Group is a group of 96 cities) and UCLG(United Cities and Local Governments) are the conveners of U20 since its inception. 
      • Ahmedabad is the Chair for the 6th edition of U20. 
      • The National Institute of Urban Affairs will work with the city of Ahmedabad as the Technical Secretariat for U20.
    1. Women20
    • Women20 (W20) was launched in 2015 during the Turkish Presidency. 
    • Its aim is to implement the “25×25” commitment adopted at Brisbane Summit in 2014, aimed at reducing the gender gap in labour force participation by 25% by the year 2025. 
    • W20 focuses on ‘gender inclusive economic growth’, and the following five are the priority areas for W20: Grassroots leadership, Entrepreneurship, Bridging the Gender Digital Divide, Education & Skill Development and Climate Change.
    1. Youth20: Y20 with its first Y20 conference held in 2010, provides a platform that allows youth to express their vision on the G20 priorities.

    Source: G20