Daily Current Affairs 2nd August, 2017

Daily Current Affairs 2nd August, 2017

INTERNATIONAL

India allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants under Indus Waters Treaty

  • The World Bank has said that India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers after secretary-level discussions between India and pakistan on the technical issues over the Indus Waters Treaty concluded recently in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation.
  • India and Pakistan disagree about the construction of the Kishenganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric power plants being built by India (the World Bank is not financing either project).
  • The two countries disagree over whether the technical design features of the two hydroelectric plants contravene the Treaty. The plants are on respectively a tributary of the Jhelum and the Chenab Rivers.
  • The Treaty designates these two rivers as well as the Indus as the “Western Rivers” to which Pakistan has unrestricted use. Among other uses, India is permitted to construct hydroelectric power facilities on these rivers subject to constraints specified in Annexures to the Treaty.

China opens its first overseas Military base in Djibouti

  • China formally opened its first overseas military base with a flag raising ceremony in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, the same day as the People’s Liberation Army marks its 90th birthday.
  • Djibouti’s position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fueled worry in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

India, China home to 39{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} of young Internet users: UN report

  • The ICT Facts and Figures 2017 report released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), shows that of the 830 million young people online worldwide, 320 million, or 39{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}, are in China and India.

NATIONAL

Inadequate breastfeeding may drain Indian economy of USD 14bn

  • The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, a new report by the UN Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and WHO in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, has been released.
  • The scorecard was released at the start of World Breastfeeding Week alongside a new analysis, demonstrating that an annual investment of only USD 4.70 per newborn is required to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months to 50{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} by 2025.
  • The report points out that breastfeeding not only helps prevent diarrhoea and pneumonia, two major causes of death in infants, it also helps reduce mothers risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two leading causes of death among women. Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life. Breastmilk works like a babys first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive.
  • In China, India, Nigeria, Mexico and Indonesia alone, inadequate breastfeeding is responsible for more than 236,000 child deaths each year. In these countries, the estimated future economic cost of mortality and cognitive losses attributed to inadequate breastfeeding are estimated to be almost USD 119 billion per year.
  • Despite a reported 55{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} exclusive breastfeeding rate in children below the age of six months, the large population in India and high under five mortality means that an estimated 99,499 children die each year as a result of cases of diarrhea and pneumonia that could have been prevented through early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding. Mortality and other losses attributed to inadequate breastfeeding could cost the country’s economy USD 14 billion.
  • Further, the high level of child mortality and growing number of deaths in women from cancers and type II diabetes attributable to inadequate breastfeeding is estimated to drain the Indian economy of USD 7 billion. Together with another $7 billion in costs related to cognitive losses, India is poised to lose an estimated USD 14 billion in its economy, or 0.70{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} of its Gross National Income.
  • The scorecard, which evaluated 194 nations, reveals that no country in the world fully meets recommended breastfeeding standards. It found that only 40{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} of children younger than six months are given nothing but breastmilk and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}.
  • Globally, investment in breastfeeding is far too low. Each year, governments in lower- and middle-income countries spend approximately USD 250 million on breastfeeding promotion donors provide only an additional USD 85 million.

Justice BN Srikrishna to head Committee for data protection framework

  • Justice B N Srikrishna, former judge of the Supreme Court of India will head a Committee of experts which has been formed to deliberate on a data protection framework for the country.

Rising temperatures drive up farmer suicides in India: U.S. study

  • According to a research report from the University of California, Climate change may have led to over 59,000 farmer suicides over the last 30 years in India.
  • The study tested the link between climate change, crop yields and suicide by comparing the number of suicides across India between 1967 and 2013 with crop yield and climate data. Data on suicides were collected from the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • The study was carried out using data for all States and Union Territories. However, the study has several limitations, though, including the fact that it has not looked at other factors that could have contributed to suicides.
  • The increase in temperature during the cropping season reduces crop yields, resulting in increased suicides. Even a 1°C increase in temperature above 20° C in a single day during the crop growing season results in about 70 suicides on average. Similar increase in temperature during other seasons did not result in a rise in suicides.
  • Crop losses due to heat damage cause additional burden on farming households and this at times leads to suicides. An increase in rainfall by 1 cm during the growing season leads to a decrease of about 0.8 deaths per 100,000, thus lowering the suicide rate by 7{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769} on average, she writes.
  • The effect of climate variation reveals that past growing season temperature strongly influences suicide rates in the following years up to about five years. For instance, when there is abundant rainfall during one growing season, the suicide rates dip for the next two or three years. Drought apparently does not seem to have any effect on suicide rates.
  • South India, which is generally hotter, has higher farmer suicide rates. States where the yields are more affected by high temperatures are also the States which report higher suicide rates. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh not only show severe suicide responses to temperature but crop yield is also more negatively affected by higher temperature.
  • The study did not find any adaptive behaviour to prevent suicides in response to climate change.

PM Modi announces Rs2,350-crore flood relief for North-East

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs2,350 crore for all North-East states for mitigating the impact of floods on short- and long-term basis.
  • In addition to that, the Prime Minister has announced a Rs100 crore corpus for setting up a research project to study the Brahmaputra and its role in creating devastating flood. Out of the Rs 2350 crore announced by the PM, Rs 1200 crore will be given by the Union.

ECONOMY,BANKING AND FINANCE

Monetary Policy: RBI cuts policy rate by 25 basis points to 6{be19e8fcc7081f751eba9e03bd22e904e5cf3e86733381e655a03b1ab7839769}

  • Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by Urjit Patel, decided to reduce the Policy Repo Rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 6.25 per cent to 6.0 per cent with immediate effect.
  • Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 per cent.

Airtel Payment Bank ties up with HPCL for ATM services

  • Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first payments bank has announced a strategic partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to give further boost to digital payments in the country and to add to customer convenience.
  • All 14,000 HPCL fuel stations will act as banking points for Airtel Payments Bank. All Airtel Payments Bank customers would be able to access a range of convenient banking services at these fuel stations like opening new accounts, make cash deposits and withdrawals facility, and transfer money.

IT systems of 7 north eastern states integrated with Public Financial Management System

  • To provide the Centre and State governments with a real time, reliable and meaningful management information system, the IT systems of all North Eastern States’ treasuries (namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Tripura) except Nagaland, have been integrated with PFMS.
  • PFMS-+Transaction+Perspective+(Real+time+Transaction+System)
  • PFMS is a Centralized Transaction System & Platform, providing end to end Financial management services to all stakeholders. CPSMS Transaction System. Program division (Sanction) DDO- Bill Preparation. PAO – Payments. State Government (Departments/Treasury etc.) Implementing Agency. (E-Payments and other transactions) Banks. External Systems (MCTS/OCEANS etc.) MIS Users. For Analytical Approach. UIDAI. Citizen. Post Offices.
  • The PFMS, also known as Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS), tracks fund disbursement and ensures that state treasuries are integrated with the Centre to ensure money is send as and when required.
  • PFMS, administered by the department of expenditure, is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It is a web based application.
  • The PFMS platform compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes, and, significantly, provides the government real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.
  • In addition, the platform will allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT) approach, with payments made only when they are needed.
  • The government has set a target to integrate PFMS with all state treasuries in current fiscal and implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for welfare and scholarship schemes.

SBI debit cards now on Samsung Pay app

  • Smartphone-maker Samsung, which recently launched its digital wallet app Samsung Pay in India, has tied up with State Bank of India to store higher variants of SBI debit cards on the app.
  • This collaboration turns the Samsung smartphones into electronic card-holders and users can pay at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals with just a tap on the cards stored in Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay works on 2.5 million PoS card machines across the country through its magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology.

GOVT SCHEME/DIGITAL INDIA

Govt launches e-RaKAM portal for selling agri produce

  • The government has launched a portal, e-RaKAM, to provide a platform to sell agricultural produce.
  • E-RaKAM is a first-of-its-kind initiative that leverages technology to connect farmers of the smallest villages to the biggest markets of the world through internet and e-RaKAM centres.
  • The portal is a joint initiative by state-run-auctioneer MSTC and Central Warehousing Corporation arm CRWC.
  • E-RaKAM is developed by MSTC Limited and supported by marketing & logistics partner CRWC Limited.
  • E-RaKAM is a digital initiative bringing together the farmers, FPOs, PSUs, civil supplies and buyers on a single platform to ease the selling and buying process of agricultural products.
  • Under this initiative, e-RaKAM centres are being developed in a phased manner throughout the country to facilitate farmers for online sale of their produce.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World breastfeeding week – August 1-7, 2017

  • World breastfeeding week 2017 is being celebrated from 1st to 7th August 2017 with the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together”.
  • It was first celebrated in 1992 by World Alliance for Breastfeeding  World Breastfeeding WeekAction (WABA) and is now observed in over 120 countries by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners including individuals, organizations, and governments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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