Daily Current Affairs – 24-06-2023

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    India and UAE Mutual Recognition Arrangement

    Syllabus: GS 2/International Relations  

    In News

    • Recently, India and UAE signed a Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Authorised Economic Operators.

    Do you Know ?

    • Earlier in September 2021, India and the US had signed a MRA AEO.
      •  The Customs authorities of both countries have already evaluated each other’s AEO programme and are working to quickly implement the reciprocal arrangement for authorised economic operators.

    About the Mutual Recognition Arrangement

    • It establishes a framework that enables the recognition of Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) from both countries. 
    • By mutually recognizing the AEO status, India and the UAE seek to streamline and expedite customs procedures, reducing administrative burden and costs for authorised businesses.
    • The Mutual recognition arrangement comes as the continuation of historic India-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

    Authorised Economic Operators .

    • An AEO is a business entity involved in international movement of goods requiring compliance with provisions of the national Customs law and is approved by or on behalf of national administration in compliance with World Customs Organization (WCO) or equivalent supply chain security standards.
    • The AEO programme enables Customs administration to identify the safe and compliant business entity in order to provide them a higher degree of assured facilitation.

    Significance 

    • The signing of this arrangement signifies an important milestone in the economic cooperation between India and the UAE. 
    • It is expected to foster closer ties and facilitate the growth of bilateral trade. 
    • It aims to promote trade facilitation, improve the ease of doing business, and encourage investments. 

    Status of relations 

    • Historical Linkages : The foundation of resilient partnership dates back to 3000 BCE when Indian fishermen and merchants traded on the shores of the present-day UAE, which was formalised in 1972 with the establishment of India-UAE diplomatic relations
    • Economic cooperation:  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently emerged as India’s fourth-largest investor.
      • CEPA was signed between the two nations in February 2022 and officially came into force on 1 May 2022. The India-UAE CEPA is the first deep and full free trade Agreement signed by India with any country in the past decade.
    • It is expected to increase the total value of bilateral trade in goods to over 100 billion US Dollars and trade in services to over 15 billion US Dollars within five years.
    • Since the operationalisation of CEPA, bilateral trade between India and the UAE has witnessed 20 percent growth over the previous year.
      •  India’s exports to the UAE also increased by 12 percent, reaching US$31.3 billion in 2022-23.
    • India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to increase non-petroleum trade from $48 billion to $100 billion by 2030.
    • Concurrent national goals:  The UAE’s current President launched the Centennial Plan 2071 in 2021. 
      • It envisions equipping the country with the information and skill sets required to manifest its ambition of becoming a global soft power by 2071.
      • The UAE’s Centennial Plan runs concurrently with India’s Vision 2047, which has set ambitious national imperatives, ensuring prosperity and development for all its people.
    • Energy security:  As industrial and manufacturing capacity booms in India, the UAE has proven to be a reliable and resilient energy exporter
      • The UAE has emerged as India’s third-largest source of oil behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq. 
      • In February 2018, the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) inked an agreement detailing constant pricing and oil supply. 
    • Strategic convergences and minilateralism  :India and the UAE also find a common footing on the emerging international strategic culture and multilateral reforms. 
      • The bilateral partners have voiced similar opinions on strategic issues such as the US dollar’s dominance in international trade, terrorism, and ending the hostilities in Ukraine. 
      • These strategic convergences culminated in the formalisation of minilateral groupings, such as the India-Israel-US-UAE (I2U2) and the India-UAE-France maritime trilateral.
    • Political :  Increasing high-level government interactions have forged the bilateral partners’ strategic convergences and mutually beneficial agreements.
    • Diaspora :  Besides the convergences at the national level, India’s engagement with the UAE at a sub-national level has also been pivotal for the India-UAE bilateral relationship, with the Indian diaspora and remittances providing a bridge between the two countries. 
      • Introducing the Gold and Green Visas will facilitate more Indian talent, especially entrepreneurs, to expand their footprint in the Emirates fintech and startup sectors. 
      • The opening of the first overseas campus of the Indian Institute of Technology in Abu Dhabi in 2024 will strengthen people-to-people ties and foster youth engagement.
    • Bilateral benefits for the Global South : As a partnership built on civilisational ties and aligning interests, the India-UAE bilateral can also have a positive global impact – for example, the India-UAE joint developmental projects in Africa.

    Future Outlook 

    • As India forges its path ahead, leading the G20 in these tumultuous times, the UAE remains its steadfast political, cultural, and economic partner. 
    • The fundamentals of economic engagement, diaspora relations, and strategic convergences have deepened the India-UAE ties over the past 10 years. 
    • The bilateral is set to become stronger as CEPA finds deeper roots and steers each partner’s policy apparatuses and businesses towards more prosperous, mutually-beneficial, and meaningful engagement.

    Source:News on air

    India-US WTO Dispute

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Institutions, GS3/ Economy

    In News 

    • India and the US have agreed to end six trade disputes at the World Trade Organisation. This comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State Visit to the US.

    Background

    • In 2018, the US imposed 25 per cent and 10 per cent import duties on certain steel and aluminium products respectively on grounds of national security. 
    • In retaliation, India in June 2019 imposed customs duties on 28 American products, including chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, boric acid, and diagnostic reagents.

    What were the Disputes?

    • The six disputes include three initiated by India and as many by the US.
    • These include countervailing measures on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India, certain measures relating to solar cells and modules, export-related measures, steel and aluminium products, and additional duties on some products from the US.
    • The US had filed a complaint in the WTO about India’s support measures to its export sector under different schemes. In 2019, a WTO dispute panel ruled that India’s export measures are inconsistent with global trade norms.

    WTO Rules

    • According to WTO rules, a member country can file a case in the Geneva-based multilateral body if they feel that a particular trade measure is against the norms of the world body. 
    • Bilateral consultation is the first step to resolving a dispute. If both sides are not able to resolve the matter through consultation, either of them can approach the establishment of a dispute settlement panel.
    • The panel’s ruling or report can be challenged by WTO’s appellate body.

    Current status of WTO’s appellate body

    • The appellate body is not functioning because of differences among member countries to appoint its members. 
    • The US has been blocking the appointment of the members.
    • Several disputes are already pending with this body.

    Expectations from the agreement

    • India’s removal of retaliatory customs duties on 28 American products such as almonds, walnuts, and apples will restore and expand market opportunities for US agricultural producers and manufacturers in India.

     Way Ahead

    • The US is the largest trading partner of India. In 2022-23, the bilateral goods trade increased to USD 128.8 billion as against USD 119.5 billion in 2021-22.
    • Hence, both countries should resolve the disputes on mutually agreed terms and later inform the Geneva-based WTO about the same.
    • This agreement on ending trade disputes represents the culmination of intensified bilateral engagement over the last two years deepening economic and trade ties.

    Source: BS

     

    The Atlantic Declaration 

    Syllabus: GS2/ India & Foreign Relations, International Organisations & Groupings

    In Context

    • The United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the United States (US) President Joe Biden recently signed “The Atlantic Declaration: A Framework for a Twenty-First Century US-UK Economic Partnership”.

    More about the Declaration

    • About:
      • The Atlantic Declaration is a symbolic representation of the political will in UK and US to work together on critical areas and make this alliance ready for the future.
    • The new partnership:
      • Declared as the first of its kind, the declaration and its action plans are expected to promote a “new type of innovative partnership” to cover all areas of cooperation including technology, economy and trade
      • While deepening the trade and investment relations, the declaration is also expected to strengthen the UK-US cooperation in sectors like defence, health, space, and science.
    • New Challenges:
      • The new declaration highlights that the nature of national security is changing with economics and it is becoming more intertwined. 
      • The US and the UK are facing new international challenges including from “authoritarian states” such as China and Russia; along with disruptive technologies, non-state actions and transnational issues like climate change.

    Significance

    • Strategic relations:
      • To deal with the emerging challenges, both countries have worked together to strengthen their resilience in trade and technology; and cooperated to expand the scope of their defence, security, and intelligence relations
        • This has been achieved by their continuing support to Ukraine, strengthening NATO, implementing AUKUS—it is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the US—and advanced coordination under the US-UK Indo-Pacific Dialogue.
    • Reducing dependencies:
      • This new economic declaration will work towards reducing strategic dependencies as well as to building resilient, secured, and diversified supply chains
    • Technology: 
      • The focus will also be on critical and emerging technologies; exploring ways to deepen trade and investments; and strengthening the US-UK alliance in sectors such as science, health security, space, and defence. 
        • The Action Plan for a Twenty-First Century U.S.-UK Economic Partnership (ADAPT) aims to spearhead the economic relations to reflect today’s challenges, and identifies five pillars of cooperation

    About The US-UK bilateral relations

    • Special relations:
      • The bilateral relations between Washington and London are often called “special”, however, in the past few years the relations have been anything but. 
    • Post Brexit scenario:
      • The relations had hit a roadblock first with the positive Brexit vote and then with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
    • Renewal of the partnership:
      • With this new Atlantic Declaration, both countries are stepping up their cooperation to set new standards of economic and technological cooperation.
      • It represents the push by both countries to renew their partnership in a post-Brexit world. 

    India-US bilateral Relations

    • About:
      • India and the US share values of democracy, rule of law, human rights, religious freedom that bind the countries together.
    • Bilateral engagement:
      • India and the United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic  partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavour, driven by  shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues,  and vibrant people-to-people contacts.
      • Regular exchanges at the leadership-level have been an integral  element of the expanding bilateral engagement.
      • Despite COVID-19 pandemic, India-U.S. cooperation witnessed  intense engagement under various bilateral dialogue mechanisms in a wide  range of areas including defence, security, health, trade, economic, science  & technology, energy and people-to-people ties.

    India-UK Relations

    • About:
      • UK-India relationship is rooted in India’s colonial history with the British and the relationship shared by both countries even after India’s independence. 
      • The bilateral relationship was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2004.
      • They share a modern partnership which was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2004.
      • The UK supports India’s proposal for permanent membership of the UNSC and is also an important interlocutor for India on global platforms. 
    • Roadmap 2030:
      • The “Roadmap 2030” for India-UK future relations was launched during India-UK Virtual Summit for-
        • Revitalised and dynamic connections between people; 
        • Re-energised trade, investment and technological collaboration that improves the lives and livelihoods of the citizens; 
        • Enhanced defence and security cooperation that brings a more secure Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific and 
        • India-UK leadership in climate, clean energy and health that acts as a global force for good.

    Source: TH

     Liberalisation of Export Policy for Drones

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government policies & intervention, GS3/ Security

    In News

    • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), has simplified and liberalised the policy for export of Drones/UAVs meant for civilian end uses from India.

    SCOMET list:

    • SCOMET is an acronym for Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technologies. The list deals with the dual-use items that can be used for both civilian and military applications.
    • India’s Foreign Trade Policy regulates the export of items on the SCOMET List.
    • The exporter must obtain a licence from the Directorate General  of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce, to export SCOMET. 

    SCOMET items categories:

    The categories of SCOMET items are as follows:

    Category

    Items

    Category 0

    Nuclear material, equipment, technology, and nuclear-related other materials

    Category 1

    Toxic chemical agent and other chemicals.

    Category 2

    Microorganisms and toxins.

    Category 3

    Material, Materials Processing Equipment, and other material-related technologies.

    Category 4

    Nuclear-related equipment, test, and production types of equipment; assemblies and components of nuclear; and related technology, not controlled under Category 0.

    Category 5

    Aerospace system, equipment including productions and test types of equipment, related technology, and specially designed components and accessories.

    Category 6

    Munitions List

    Category 7

    Computers, electronic, and information technology, including information security.

    Category 8

    Special Materials and Related Types of equipment, Electronics, Computers, Material Processing, Information Security, Sensors, Telecommunications and Lasers, Avionics, Marine, Aerospace Navigation, and Propulsion.

    ITCHS classification:

    • Indian Trade Classification based on the Harmonized System (ITCHS) was adopted in India for import-export operations. 
    • Indian custom uses eight digit ITC-HS Codes.
    • ITC-HS Codes Schedules:ITC-HS codes are divided into two schedules. 
    • Schedule I describes the rules and guidelines related to import policies
    • Schedule II describes the rules and regulations related to export policies.

     Policy Changes

    • Policy before: All kind/type of drones/UAVs were controlled/restricted for export under the SCOMET list under Schedule 2 of the ITCHS classification of Import and Export Items. 
    • SCOMET licence was required for export of such items and the Industry was facing challenges to export drones with limited capability which are only meant for civilian use. 
    • Policy now: The export of Drones/UAVs not covered under the specified categories in SCOMET list and capable of range equal to or less than 25 km and delivering a payload of not more than 25 kgs (excluding the software and technology of these items) and meant for only civilian end-use, will now be subject to General Authorization for Export of Drones (GAED), a one time general licence valid for 3 years. 
    • This policy change will not require the Drone Manufacturers/Exporters with GAED Authorization to apply for SCOMET licence for every similar export shipment meant for civilian purpose, within the validity period of 3 years.
    • This decision has been taken in line with the emphasis laid in India’s Foreign Trade Policy 2023 on facilitating the export of high tech items.

    Benefits of policy change

    • Liberalising export controls may encourage innovation and technological advancement in the drone/UAV industry.
    • This would further facilitate the Drone/UAV manufacturers/industry to export drones with ease, thereby facilitating ease of doing business and promoting exports from India. 
    • The  policy change would promote India as a global manufacturing hub of drones/UAVs and push the start-ups in this field to scale up and look at the global markets. 
    • It will allow Indian Drone Manufacturers to access larger markets and compete on a global scale, ultimately boosting economic activity. 

    Source: PIB

     

    Artemis Accords

    Syllabus: GS3/Science and Tech, GS2/IR

    News

    • India became the 27th country to sign the Artemis Accords.

    Overview of Artemis Accords

    • The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations, including those participating in NASA’s Artemis program.
    • NASA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, established the Artemis Accords in 2020 together with seven other founding member nations. 
    • 26 countries have partnered in the Artemis Accord, with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, UAE, UK, and USA being the founders.
    • Out of 22 European nations, only eight — Luxembourg, Italy, UK, Romania, Poland, France, Czech Republic, and Spain — have signed the accords.
    • These principles are non-binding multilateral arrangements between the US government and other governments.
    • The Artemis Accords reinforce and implement key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. 
    • These apply to civil space activities — which may take place on the moon, Mars, comets, asteroids, including their surfaces and sub surfaces, as well as in orbit of the Moon or Mars. 

    Artemis Programme

    • NASA’s Artemis program is an effort to place astronauts on the lunar surface and develop an ongoing presence there. Through the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.
    • The program’s name is derived from Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and twin sister to Apollo. 
    • The most ambitious of the Artemis mission’s objectives involves using the moon as a stepping stone for a mission to Mars. NASA aims to send astronauts there by the 2030s. 
    • For crewed Artemis missions, the rocket will launch the Orion spacecraft to the moon. 
      • Orion is a space capsule larger than the Apollo command modules that are designed to carry four astronauts on missions to the moon.
    • Artemis 1 (2022): The first mission was uncrewed to test the safety of the SLS rocket, and the Orion capsule’s ability to reach the moon, perform in lunar orbit and return to Earth for an ocean splashdown. The mission was completed successfully.
    • Artemis 2 (2024): Carrying the first four Artemis astronauts, the Orion capsule will take the crew farther from Earth than humans have ever traveled before. Over the approximately 10-day mission, the crew will complete a lunar flyby and return to Earth, evaluating the spacecraft’s systems while carrying humans.
    • Artemis 3 (2025): This will see the next man and first woman step onto the lunar surface. Providing previous missions have been successful, the astronauts will shoot towards the moon, using the lunar lander to lower two people to the moon’s south polar region. They will remain on the moon for around a week.

    What are Artemis Accords?

    • Peaceful Purposes: The core of the Artemis Accords is the requirement that all activities will be conducted for peaceful purposes, per the tenets of the Outer Space Treaty.
    • Transparency: Partner nations will be required to uphold this principle by publicly describing their own policies and plans in a transparent manner.
    • Interoperability:  Call for partner nations to utilize open international standards, develop new standards when necessary, and strive to support interoperability to the greatest extent practical.
    • Emergency Assistance: Reaffirm NASA’s and partner nations’ commitments to the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space. 
    • Release of Scientific Data: Partners will agree to follow NASA’s example, releasing their scientific data publicly to ensure that the entire world can benefit from the Artemis journey of exploration and discovery.
    • Protecting Heritage: NASA and partner nations will commit to the protection of sites and artifacts with historic value.
    • Space Resources: The ability to extract and utilize resources on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids will be critical to support safe and sustainable space exploration and development. The Artemis Accords reinforce that space resource extraction and utilization can and will be conducted under the auspices of the Outer Space Treaty.
    • Deconfliction of Activities: NASA and partner nations will provide public information regarding the location and general nature of operations which will inform the scale and scope of ‘Safety Zones’. Notification and coordination between partner nations to respect such safety zones will prevent harmful interference.
    • Orbital Debris and Spacecraft Disposal: NASA and partner nations will agree to plan for the mitigation of orbital debris, including the safe, timely, and efficient passivation and disposal of spacecraft at the end of their missions.

    Significance for India

    • Collaboration between ISRO and NASA: NASA will provide advanced training to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) astronauts with the goal of launching a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024..
    • Vision of Global Space Power: This agreement holds significant importance for India to establish itself as a global space power.
      • India signing the accords would benefit space exploration ambitions under the new space policy mainly through international collaboration as all signatories to the accords commit to the open sharing of scientific data and assist each other in the efforts. 
    • Technology Transfer: Signing of the Artemis Accords could possibly liberalise some of those technology transfer hurdles that are there between the US and India.
    • India’s decision to join the Artemis Accords highlights its dedication to global space cooperation and a keen interest in participating in lunar exploration missions. By becoming a signatory, India can collaborate with other nations, including the United States, in future Moon missions. 
      • This collaboration enables the sharing of knowledge and expertise, contributing to the advancement of scientific research, technological development, and the expansion of humanity’s presence in space.
    • International Cooperation: Now India will be much more open to international collaborations and open to exploring uncharted territories. There have been several restrictions in the past with Indian companies unable to do business in the European region. But now, this will be much more open and collaborations will be much more accessible.
      • It also opens up markets for Indian companies with all the other signatories of the Artemis Accord.

    India-US Space cooperation

    • Cooperation with US Agencies: ISRO has been actively pursuing civilian space cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); US Geological Survey (USGS) and academic institutions. 
    • Joint Working Group: India and the US formed a Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation (Indo-US CJWG), which meets biannually to review the status of cooperation and identifies newer areas for furthering space cooperation. 
    • ISRO and NASA cooperation: ISRO and NASA are working together to realize a joint microwave remote sensing satellite for Earth observation, named NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). 
      • ISRO availed NASA/JPL’s Deep Space Network Antenna support for its Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and Chandrayaan-2 mission. 
      • Both sides are currently exploring the possibility of availing similar support for Chandrayaan-3 satellite. 
      • On the commercial front, ISRO has launched more than 200 satellites from the US, on-board Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), as co-passengers.

    Source: TP

    Samosa Caucus

    Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Diaspora

    In News

    • Prime minister Modi mentioned the term Samosa Caucus while delivering a speech in the US Joint Congress during his recent visit.

    What is the Samosa Caucus?

    • The term “Samosa Caucus” refers to a group of elected officials in the US Congress who have South Asian ancestry, particularly from the Indian subcontinent. 
    • The name is drawn from the famous snack food Samosa.The term Samosa Caucus has been in use since 2018, and it is said to have been coined by Raja Krishnamoorthy, member of the US House of Representatives from Illinois’s 8th District. 
    • It is used to describe the growing representation of individuals of South Asian descent in the US political landscape.

    Indian Diaspora in US politics:

    • American Politics is undergoing a transformation as more Indian origin conquers political heights.
    • Indian American candidates Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Kamala Harris, Ami Bera,Shri Thanedar scripted the history by being elected into the US Congress.

     

    Role of Indian Diaspora in US politics

    • Indian Americans, who make up 1% of the US population, own a third of all Silicon Valley start-ups. About 8% of all high-technology firms in the US were founded by Indian Americans.
    • The top positions held by people of Indian origin in IBM, Microsoft, Google, Deloitte, Adobe, etc. have a profound impact on political dynamics.
    • Indian Americans have surfaced as a significant vote bank in US electoral politics and have a decisive role to play.
    • With increase in population and share in economic power, the focus of the Indian American’s lobby has inclined towards the concerns of India. 
    • The diaspora generated much needed political support in the US Congress for changing the American non-proliferation laws and facilitating civil nuclear cooperation with India.

    Source: IE

     

    Joha Rice

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    In News

    • The Joha variety of rice is found to be effective in lowering blood glucose and preventing diabetes is an effective nutraceutical of choice in diabetes management.

    Joha Rice

    • Joha is a short-grain winter paddy known for its significant aroma and noteworthy taste.
    • It is cultivated in the Northeastern region of India.
    • Joha rice is also rich in several antioxidants, flavonoids, and phenolics. Some of the reported bioactive compounds are oryzanol, ferulic acid, tocotrienol, caffeic acid, catechuic acid, gallic acid, tricin, and so on, each with reported antioxidant, hypoglycaemic and cardio-protective effects.
    • It got the GI (geographical indications) Tag from the Union ministry of commerce.

    Research on Joha Rice

    • The research explored the nutraceutical properties of aromatic Joha rice. They detected two unsaturated fatty acids viz., linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic (omega-3) acid.
    • These essential fatty acids (which humans cannot produce) can help maintain various physiological conditions. Omega-3 fatty acid prevents several metabolic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. 
    • Joha has also proved to be effective in lowering the blood glucose and preventing diabetes onset in diabetic rats.

    Rise in Diabetes Incidence

    • According to a Lancet study, the number of people living with diabetes worldwide is expected to double to more than 1.3 billion in 2050 from 529 million in 2021.
    • Recently in an ICMR study, it is found that the national prevalence of diabetes is 11.4 percent, while 35.5 percent of Indians suffer from hypertension. 
    • Systemic racism, inequality, lifestyle changes and poor eating habits are accelerating the pace of diabetes in the world.

    Rice: Key Facts

    • Rice is one of the most important food crops and feeds more than 60 per cent of the population of India. Oryza sativa is the scientific name of rice.
    • It is India’s largest agricultural crop (accounting for over 40% of the total foodgrain output).
    • India is the world’s biggest exporter (around 40% of the world’s export)
    • India is the 2nd largest rice producer in the world after China.

    Climatic Requirements: Hot and humid climate, Temperature required is 21 to 37º C.

    Nutraceutical

    • A nutraceutical or ‘bioceutical’ is a pharmaceutical alternative which claims physiological benefits.
    • Nutraceuticals are products derived from food sources that are purported to provide extra health benefits, in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods.

    Because nutraceuticals and bioceuticals are largely unregulated, these supplements are the subject of more of marketing hype than actual clinical testing, and for many, it is not even yet known whether they provide more benefits than risks for consumers.

    Source: PIB 

    Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) 

    Syllabus :GS 2/Welfare Schemes/GS3/Food Security

    In News

    • Recently, the Centre has discontinued the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to State governments,barring northeast, hilly states and those facing law and order situations and natural calamities.
      • The decision was taken mainly for controlling the prices of essential commodities — wheat and rice in the larger interest of the people. 

    More in News

    • Karnataka and Tamil Nadu criticised the Union government’s decision and  State governments had alleged that such a move was against the interest of the poor. 

    About Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) 

    • Food Corporation of India on the instructions from the Government  sells surplus stocks of wheat and rice under Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) at predetermined prices through e-auction in the open market from time to time .
    • Objectives 
      • To enhance the supply of food grains during the lean season and deficit regions 
      • To moderate the open market prices 
      • To offload the excess stocks 
      • To reduce the carrying cost of food grains 

    About  Food Corporation of India

    • It was setup under the Food Corporations Act 1964 , in order to fulfil following objectives of the Food Policy:
    • Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the farmers.
    • Distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for a public distribution system.
    • Maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of foodgrains to ensure National Food Security.
    • Achievements : 
      • Since its inception, FCI has played a significant role in India’s success in transforming the crisis management oriented food security into a stable security system.

    Source:TH

     

    Data on Disability 

    Syllabus: GS2/Health

    In News

    • Recently the Health Ministry was criticized over the exclusion of disability-related questions in the sixth round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-6) which is set to begin shortly.

    About NFHS

    • The National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) is conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and plays a crucial role in providing the Government of lndia and the stakeholders with reliable inputs to monitor the progress of various flagship programmes as well as achieve the vision of the National Health Policy. 
    • Nodal Agency: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), designated International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) as the nodal agency, responsible for providing coordination and technical guidance for the NFHS. 
    • Funding: The funding for different rounds of NFHS has been provided by USAID, DFID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, UNFPA, and MOHFW, GOI.
    • Past NFHS:
      • NFHS-1 (1992-93)
      • NFHS-2 (1998-99)
      • NFHS-3 (2005-2006)
      • NFHS-4 (2014-2015)
      • NFHS-5 (2019-21)

    Persons with Disability in India

    • Definition: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ‘Disability’ as an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. 
    • Data in India: Collection of data on disability dates back to 1872 with the first Indian Census. Until 1931, it was referred to as infirmity. 
    • The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) made the first attempt to collect data on the number of persons with disabilities in the 15th round from 1959-1960. However, those data did not contain the required details, nor was it a regular feature.
    • Census 2011: As per the Census 2011, the differently abled population in India is 26.8 million. In percentage terms, this stands at 2.21 %. 
      • As per the Census 2011, there are 14.9 million men with disabilities as compared to 11.9 million women in the country. 
      • The percentage of men with disabilities is 2.41 per cent as against 2.01 in women. Social groups’ wise analysis shows 2.45 per cent of the total disabled population belong to the Scheduled Castes (SC), 2.05 per cent to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and 2.18 per cent to other than SC/ST. 
    • NSS 76th round (July – December 2018): Prevalence and incidence of disability was 2.2 per cent, 2.3 per cent in rural areas and 2.0 per cent in the urban areas.
      • Among males, prevalence of disability was 2.4 per cent which was 1.9 per cent among females.
    • NFHS 5: The overall prevalence of disability was 4.52 % across all age groups in India. The prevalence was highest in the age group of 75 years and above at 6.07%.

    Source: TH