News: Oxfam has released a report titled “Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index,2020”.
- About the index: The index ranks 158 countries measuring their policies and actions in three areas that it said are proven to be directly related to reducing inequality:
- Public services(health, education and social protection)
- Taxation and
- Workers rights.
- Topped by: The index has been topped by Norway followed by Denmark and Germany.
- India: It has been ranked 129 overall in the index.
- Public Services: In terms of its public services such as health, education and social protection,India has been ranked 141.
- Taxation: In terms of taxation, India has been ranked 19th in the index.
- Workers Rights: India has fared poorly in protecting labour rights and has slipped to rank 151.
- Other Facts Related to India:
- India has spent just 4% of its budget on health going into the pandemic — fourth lowest in the world.
- Only half of India’s population have access to even the most essential health services while over 70% of health spending is being met by people themselves.
- Most workers earn less than half of the minimum wage.Further, only around 10% of the workforce in India is formal with safe working conditions and social security.
News: Kashmir has won the bid to host the 50th annual Skal International Asia Area(SIAA) Congress in 2021.
- SIAA: It is an organisation of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship since 1934.
- Significance: It is an Affiliated Member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
- Which initiatives it supports? The organization supports the Sustainable Tourism-Eliminating Poverty Initiative(ST-EP).
- ST-EP is a programme of the UNWTO which brings together UN agencies, governments, donor agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders to unite in a concerted effort to use tourism in actively combating poverty throughout the world.
- UNWTO: It aims to promote responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.Headquarters:Madrid, Spain.
News: The Chilika Development Authority(CDA) has designated the fishing cat as ambassador which is being called as an important step towards conservation of the vulnerable species.
- Fishing Cat: It is a medium-sized wildcat found in South and Southeast Asia.They are nocturnal and are an adept swimmer which enters water frequently to prey on fish and other animals.
- Habitat: In India, fishing cats are mainly found in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, on the foothills of the Himalayas along the Ganga and Brahmaputra river valleys and in the Western Ghats.
- Significance: In 2012, the West Bengal government officially declared the Fishing Cat as the State Animal.
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
- CITES: Appendix II
- Indian Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule I
- Threat: Habitat Destruction, Hunting, Ritual Practices, Poaching among others.
- Chilka Lake:It is Asia’s largest brackish water lake spread over districts of Odisha at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.
- In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
News: Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) in collaboration with Chhattisgarh MFP Federation and IIT, Kanpur will be launching Tech for Tribals initiative.
- Tech for Tribals Initiative: It aims at the holistic development of tribals with a focus on entrepreneurship development, soft skills, IT and business development through Self Help Groups(SHGs) operating through Van Dhan Kendras (VDVKs).
- Features: Under this initiative, TRIFED with the support of the Ministry of MSME has tied up with reputed national institutions for organising the first phase of tribal entrepreneurship and skill development programs.
- Van Dhan Scheme: Itis an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED with the aim to target livelihood generation for tribal gatherers and transform them into entrepreneurs.
- Under this, Van Dhan Vikas Kendras have been set up to cater to 10 tribal Self Help Groups(SHG).These SHGs are trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products.The SHGs then market their products within and outside the State.
- TRIFED: It was established in 1987 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal affairs.It aims to provide good price to the products made or collected from the forest by the tribal people.
News: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Economics — to Paul R Milgrom and Robert B Wilson for their work on auction theory and new auction formats.
- Auction Theory: It is an applied branch of economics which deals with how people act in auction markets and researches the properties of auction markets.
What did the two Nobel Prize winners do?
- Robert Wilson: He developed the theory for auctions of objects with a common value — a value which is uncertain beforehand but, in the end, is the same for everyone.For example, the future value of radio frequencies or the volume of minerals in a particular area.
- Winner’s Curse: Wilson also explained what the “winner’s curse” in an auction is and how it affects bidding.
- As shown in the illustration, it is possible to overbid — $50 when the real value is closer to $25. In doing so, one wins the auction but loses out in reality.
- Hence, the winner’s curse explains why rational bidders tend to place bids below their own best estimate of the common value: they are worried about the winner’s curse — that is, about paying too much and losing out.
- Paul R.Milgrom: He formulated a more general theory of auctions that not only allows common values but also private values that vary from bidder to bidder.He analysed the bidding strategies in a number of well-known auction formats, demonstrating that a format will give the seller higher expected revenue when bidders learn more about each other’s estimated values during bidding.
News: Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) has started a nation- wide campaign to celebrate “Kamdhenu Deepawali Abhiyan” this year on the occasion of Deepawali festival.
- Kamdhenu Deepawali Abhiyan aims reaching 11 crore families to ignite 33 crore Diyas made of cow-dung during this year’s Deepawali festival.
Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog
- It has been established by the government in 2019. It seeks for conservation protection and development of cows and their progeny.
- It is high powered permanent body. At present it functions as a part of Rashtriya Gokul Mission under Department of Animal Husbandry and dairying, Ministry of Agriculture and Framers Welfare.
- provide the policy framework and direction to the cow conservation and development programmes and
- Ensure proper implementation of laws with respect to the welfare of cows.
News: NITI Aayog announced the governing structure of India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF).
- India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF) jointly launched by NITI Aayog and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the US–India Strategic Energy Partnership.
- Aim: It aims to engage Indian researchers, knowledge partners, think tanks and national and international government agencies and departments for modelling and long-term energy planning.
- Governing structure of IEMF:
- It will consist of an inter-ministerial and a steering committee.
- The inter-ministerial committee will be convened by NITI Aayog and headed by its CEO
- The committee will review the studies/modelling activities and provide directions and new areas of research.
News: Ministry of Finance announced two sets of measures to generate consumption demand and boost capital spending in the economy.
Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Scheme
- Under the scheme, Central Government employees will be provided tax benefits on LTC component without them having to actually travel.
- These employees would, however, be required to spend three times of the LTC fare component for purchasing items that attract 12 per cent or more GST.
- The government expects a demand generation of Rs 28,000 crore in the economy.
- A consumption boost from LTC component of the salary of central and state government employees will lift GST collections in the second half of the fiscal year as the scheme calls for expenditure to be done till March 31, 2021.
Special festival advance scheme
- Under this, all central government employees will get interest-free advance of Rs 10,000 that the government will recover in 10 instalments.
- It will be given in the form of a pre-loaded Rupay card of the advance value and the government expects to disburse Rs 4,000 crore under the scheme.
- The scheme was previously abolished in line with recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, for one time till March 31, 2021.
India’s Energy Mix
Source: The Hindu Data Point
- More than 54% of India’s Energy needs were from coal production FY19.
- Renewable energy contributed less than 3%.