Factly articles for October 31, 2020

13 min read

1 UKIBC releases Doing Business in India Report 2020

News: UK India Business Council(UKIBC) has released the sixth edition of Doing Business in India Report 2020.

Facts:

  • About the report: The report is based on an in-depth survey of 106 UK organisations operating in India spanning manufacturing, services, and higher education sectors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Nearly two-thirds of the UK businesses believe it is getting easier to do business in India due to progressive reforms and improvements in the availability of support and service providers, skilled labour and supply chain.
  • State wise Analysis: Maharashtra has emerged as the state with maximum incremental improvement for the third consecutive year. Maharashtra is followed by Karnataka, Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
  • Top Regulatory Irritants: Legal and regulatory barriers, Foreign exchange regulations, GST process issues, high import tariffs, lack of alignment with international standards.
  • Suggestions: The survey suggests that improving bureaucratic processes with greater accountability, increasing regulatory certainty, simplification of the GST processes, improving quality of infrastructure and making single window clearance effective were the most sought-after reforms.

Additional Facts:

  • UKIBC: It is a membership-based, non-profit organisation founded in 2007 to foster trade and business relations between the United Kingdom and India.The organisation works with businesses in both countries as well as the UK and Indian governments to promote and increase bilateral trade.

2 Public Affairs Index-2020

News: The Public Affairs Index-2020 has been released.

Facts:

  • About the index: Itis released by the Public Affairs Centre, a not-for-profit organisation headed by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Kasturirangan.
  • Ranking: Thestates were ranked on governance performance in the context of sustainable development defined by three pillars of equity, growth and sustainability.

Key Takeaways:

  • Larger States Category:
    • Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka stood in the first four ranks in terms of governance.
    • Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar were at the bottom of the ranking.
  • Smaller States Category:
    • Goa ranked first followed by Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.
    • Manipur, Delhi and Uttarakhand were the worst performers.
  • Union Territories:
    • Chandigarh has emerged at the top followed by Pondicherry and Lakshadweep.
    • Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Andaman, Jammu and Kashmir and Nicobar were the worst performers.

3 Delhi CM launches Green Delhi app

News: Delhi Chief Minister has launched a ‘Green Delhi’ mobile application.

Facts:

  • Aim: To keep a check on rising air pollution in Delhi and bring pollution-causing activities to the government’s notice.
  • Features:
    • The app is based on photo and video complaints.The citizens can click photos or make videos of pollution causing activities such as burning of garbage, industrial pollution and dust and upload them on the application.
    • The application will then use the pictures and videos to identify the location and the complaint will be automatically forwarded to the concerned department for time-bound redressal.

4 Govt. seeks comments on draft IR Code rules

News: Union Labour and Employment Ministry has published the draft rules framed under the Industrial Relations Code,2020.

Facts:

  • Industrial Relations Code combines and simplifies relevant provisions of three Central Labour Acts: Trade Unions Act,1926, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act,1946 and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

Key Highlights of the Draft Rules:

  • Exit provisions relating to retrenchment and others: Firms with 300 or more workers are required to seek approval from the government before 15-day notice for lay-offs, 60-day notice for retrenchments and 90-day notice for closure.
  • Electronic Methods of Communication: The rules propose electronic methods for most communication including maintenance of an electronic register for standing orders for all industrial establishments among others.
  • Rules on Strike: The notice of strike has to be signed by the secretary and five elected representatives of the registered trade union and given to the employer, with a copy sent to the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) electronically or otherwise.
  • Reskilling Fund: The rules also proposed establishing a re-skilling fund for retrenched workers.Employers would have to electronically transfer an amount equal to 15 days of the last drawn wages of the retrenched workers or worker into an account maintained by the government within 10 days of the retrenchment.
    • The fund so received shall be transferred by the Central Government to each worker or workers‘ account electronically within 45 days of receipt of funds from the employer and the worker shall utilize such amount for his re-skilling.

5 IPBES releases paper titled “Escaping the ‘Era of Pandemics”

News: The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services(IPBES) has released a research paper titled “Escaping the Era of Pandemics: Experts Warn Worse Crises to Come”.

Facts:

  • Objective: The report has analysed the contribution of human-induced environmental damages in the emergence of new diseases.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pandemics like COVID-19 would hit us more frequently unless there is a change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases.
  • We are yet to identify some 1.7 million viruses that exist in mammals and birds.Out of these, 50% have the potential or ability to infect humans.
  • Land use change is a significant driver of pandemics and caused the emergence of more than 30% of new diseases reported since 1960.

Recommendations:

  • Intergovernmental Council: Launch a high-level intergovernmental councilon pandemic prevention to provide decision-makers with the best science and evidence on emerging diseases.
  • Mutually agreed Goals: Countries should set mutually-agreed goals or targetswithin the framework of an international accord or agreement – with clear benefits for people, animals and the environment.
  • One Health approach: Institutionalizing the ‘One Health’ approach in national governments to build pandemic preparedness, enhance pandemic prevention programs and to investigate and control outbreaks across sectors.
  • Changes in Consumption: Enable changes to reduce the types of consumption, globalized agricultural expansion and trade that have led to pandemics.
  • Reducing zoonotic disease risks in the international wildlife trade through intergovernmental partnerships.
  • Valuing Indigenous Peoples and local communities engagement and knowledge in pandemic prevention programs.

Additional Facts:

  • IPBES: It is an intergovernmental organization established in 2012 to improve the interface between science and policy on issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services.Headquarters: Bonn, Germany.

6 Indian Army develops messaging application ‘Secure Application for Internet’

News: Indian Army has developed a simple messaging application named the Secure Application for Internet(SAI).

Facts:

  • SAI: It is a simple and secure messaging application that supports end-to-end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platforms over the internet.
  • Developed by:The application has been developed by Col Sai Shankar of the Indian Army.
  • Why did the Army develop SAI? There have been concerns about the use of commercial mobile applications by Army officials for communicating with each other as it may compromise security.

7 Planet-based diet can fix food inequality, cut premature deaths says report

News: World Wildlife Fund(WWF) has published the report titled “Bending the Curve: The Restorative Power of Planet-Based Diets” and launched a new platform known as Planet-Based Diets Impact and Action Calculator.

Facts:

  • What does the report say? The report says that there is a need to strike a balance in how countries consume their food and a shift to a plant-based diet may be the need of the hour to fix food inequality and reduce premature deaths.
  • Planet Based Diets Impact and Action Calculator: It is a science based platform that aims to lay the foundations for better decision-making by measuring the national health and environmental impacts of any diet customized across 13 food groups.

Additional Facts:

  • Planet-Based diets: It is a consumption pattern that is high on human health benefits and low on environmental impacts.
  • WWF: It is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Headquarters:Gland, Switzerland.