News: International Literacy Day is celebrated across the globe on the 8th of September.
- International Literacy Day: It was declared in 1966 at the 14th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference.
- Aim: To raise awareness and remind people of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.
- Theme: “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”.
- Global Education Monitoring Report 2020: It has been released by UNESCO to monitor progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education as well as other education-related points in the SDG Agenda.Theme: “Inclusion and education: All means all”.
- SDG 4: It aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
- Incheon declaration: It is a declaration on education adopted at the World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea in 2015.
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): It is a specialized agency of the United Nations(UN) based in Paris,France.India has been a member of the UNESCO since its inception in 1946.
News: National Sample Survey (July 2017-June 2018) has released a report titled “household social consumption related to health”.
Key Highlights of the report:
- Full Immunisation: Across the country, only 59.2% of children under five years are fully immunised.
- Full immunisation means that a child receives a cocktail of eight vaccine doses in the first year of life: the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis; the measles vaccine; the oral polio vaccine (OPV) , DPT/pentavalent vaccine to protect a child from diphtheria among others.
- About 97% of children across the country received at least one vaccination mostly BCG and/or the first dose of OPV at birth.However, only 67% of children are protected against measles.Only 58% got their polio booster dose while 54% got their DPT booster dose.
- State wise: Manipur (75%), Andhra Pradesh (73.6%) and Mizoram (73.4%) recorded the highest rates of full immunisation.
- On the other hand, Nagaland has only 12% children who received all vaccinations followed by Puducherry(34%) and Tripura(39.6%).
- Government Hospitals: The vast majority of these vaccinations 95% in rural India and 86% in cities were carried out in government health facilities and primary health centres.
News: Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas has addressed the first World Solar Technology Summit.
- World Solar Technology Summit(WSTS): It has been organised by International Solar Alliance(ISA) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry(FICCI).
- Aim: To bring together key stakeholders to discuss the highlights of solar technologies, cost-wise; technology-wise, technology transfers, challenges and concerns in the field.
- PSU’s: Five Public Sector Undertakings(PSUs) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas will be joining International Solar Alliance (ISA)’s Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action(ISA-CSCA) as Corporate Partners.
- Project Preparation Facility: It has been set up to develop bankable Solar Energy projects in ISA member countries with the help of EXIM Bank of India.
- International Solar Alliance(ISA): It is a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization jointly launched by India and France on the side-lines of the COP 21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.
- Aim: To work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- To collectively address key common challenges to scale up solar energy applications in line with their needs
- To mobilize investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030;
- To bring about a major decrease in the cost of solar energy
- To scale up applications of solar technologies in member countries and facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D).
- Members: ISA Framework Agreement has been signed by 86 countries, with 68 having also deposited instruments of ratification.
- Headquarters: Gurugram, India.
News: As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, India’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves has touched a record high of USD 541.431 billion in the week ended 28th August 2020.
- Reasons for High Foreign Reserves:
- Investment: Rise in investment by foreign portfolio investors and increased foreign direct investments(FDIs).
- Fall in Crude Oil Prices: Fall in crude oil prices has brought down the oil import bill, saving precious foreign exchange. Similarly, overseas remittances and foreign travels have also fallen steeply.
- Foreign exchange reserves: Foreign exchange reserves are assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies.
- Components of Foreign exchange reserves: The Foreign exchange reserves of India consists of four categories which are: Gold , SDRs (special drawing rights of IMF), Foreign currency assets (capital inflows to the capital markets, Foreign Direct Investment and external commercial borrowings) and Reserve Position with IMF.
- Forex Reserves Storage: The RBI Act,1934 provides a legal framework for deployment of reserves in different foreign currency assets and gold within the broad parameters of currencies, instruments and issuers.
- Significance of Forex Reserves:
- Comfortable Position to Government: The rising forex reserves give comfort to the government and the RBI in managing India’s external and internal financial issues at a time of major contraction in economic growth.
- Managing BoP Crisis: It serves as a cushion in the event of a Balance of Payment (BoP) crisis on the economic front.It is enough to cover the import bill of the country for a year.
- External Debt Obligations: Assist the government in meeting its foreign exchange needs and external debt obligations.
- Strengthening of Rupee: The rising reserves have helped the rupee to strengthen against the dollar.The foreign exchange reserves to GDP ratio is around 15 per cent.
- Confidence in Market: Reserves will provide a level of confidence to markets and investors that a country can meet its external obligations.
News: Railway Protection Force(RPF) of Indian Railways has disrupted the operation of illegal software called “Real Mango”.
- Real Mango Software:It is an illegal software developed for cornering confirmed Railway reservation over the IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation).
- How does it work? The software logs into the IRCTC server through multiple Ids.It bypasses captcha code and also gets sync with the bank OTP with the help of a mobile app and feeds it to the requisite form to book tickets automatically.
- It also auto-fills the passenger and payment details in the forms and makes the whole process a quick and less time-consuming process.
- This makes the complete process of Indian Rail ticket booking at a fly speed.
News: Jammu and Kashmir Government has announced the third phase of ambitious Back to Village(B2V) programme.
- Back to Village(B2V) programme: The programme aims to involve the people of the state and government officials in a joint effort to deliver the mission of equitable development.It also aims to energize Panchayats and direct development efforts in rural areas through community participation.
- Phases: Phase I: To understand the people’s grievances and demands. Phase-II: It focused on the devolution of powers to panchayats and tried to understand how these panchayats are functioning and what are the grievances and demands and Phase-III: It has been designed on the format for grievance redressal.
- As part of the programme,each gazetted officer will be assigned a gram panchayat where he/she will interact and obtain feedback from the panchayat representatives about their concerns, developmental needs and economic potential of the area.
- The feedback obtained will help the government in needs assessment and subsequently to tailor the various central and state government schemes/programmes in improving delivery of village-specific services and making the village life better in terms improved amenities and economic upliftment.
News: Tamil Nadu government has discovered a scam amounting to over Rs 110 crore in the PM-Kisan Scheme after clearance norms under PM KISAN were relaxed due to Covid-19 lockdown.
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi(PM-KISAN): It is a Central Sector scheme launched in 2019.
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
- Objective: To augment the income of the farmers by providing income support to all landholding farmers’ families across the country and to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs.
- Income Support: Under the Scheme an amount of Rs.6000/- per year is transferred in three 4-monthly installments of Rs.2000/- directly into the bank accounts of the farmers subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status.
- Coverage: The Scheme initially provided income support to all Small and Marginal Farmers’ families across the country, holding cultivable land upto 2 hectares.Its ambit was later expanded to cover all farmer families in the country irrespective of the size of their land holdings.
- Exclusion: Affluent farmers have been excluded from the scheme such as Income Tax payers in last assessment year, professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants etc and pensioners pensioners drawing at least Rs.10,000/- per month (excluding MTS/Class IV/Group D employees) among others.
News: Jharkhand government has approved the Mukhyamantri Shramik Yojana. It is a job guarantee scheme under which urban workers will demand 100 days of work
News: The World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines on the use of corticosteroids for the treatment of novel coronavirus infection.
- They are low-cost anti-inflammatory drugs that closely mimic cortisol, the hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands in humans.
- They are commonly used in treatment for rheumatological inflammatory conditions: inflammations of muscles, inflammation of blood vessels, chronic arthritis, and lupus.
New WHO Guidelines
- It recommended systemic corticosteroids rather than no systemic corticosteroids for the treatment of patients with severe and critical COVID-19.
- The WHO also highlighted that in contrast to other experimental treatment that is expensive and difficult to obtain and require advanced medical infrastructure, corticosteroids are “low cost, easy to administer, and readily available globally.
News: National Statistical Office (NSO) has released a report on ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey. It provides for state-wise detail of literacy rate among the persons aged seven years and above.
Key takeaways on Digital Divide in Education
- Across India, only one in ten households have a computer — whether a desktop, laptop or tablet.
- However, almost a quarter of all homes have Internet facilities, accessed via a fixed or mobile network using any device, including smartphones.
- Most of these Internet-enabled homes are located in cities, where 42% have Internet access. In rural India, however, only 15% are connected to the internet.
- Delhi has the highest Internet access, with 55% of homes having such facilities.