Daily Current Affairs Date : 12thMarch,2022
(30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)
Covers 4 Most relevant Sources
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI) Scheme (PIB)
- Chardham Project (TH, pg 7)
- Grants to the Rural Local Bodies (PIB)
- Group of Seven (G7)(TH, pg 12)
- Vincov-19 (TH, pg 5)
Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI) Scheme (PIB)
- Context: Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has released the guidelines for the scheme “Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI).”
- The objectives of the scheme “Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Industry (SPI) are to strengthen the existing infrastructure facilities in order to make India a global leader in the Pharma Sector.
The Scheme has 3 components / sub-schemes:
- Assistance to Pharmaceutical Industry for Common Facilities (APICF) to strengthen the existing pharmaceutical clusters’ capacity for their sustained growth by creating common facilities;
- Pharmaceutical Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme (PTUAS) to facilitate Micro, Small and Medium Pharma Enterprises (MSMEs) of proven track record to meet national and international regulatory standards through interest subvention or capital subsidy on their capital loans; and
- Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices Promotion and Development Scheme (PMPDS) to facilitate growth and development of Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Sectors.
Chardham Project (TH, pg 7)
- Context:The Supreme Court asked its former judge, Justice A.K. Sikri, to head the high-powered committee which independently monitors the environmental impact of the Char Dham road project in the Himalayas that extends up to the India-China border.
- The Char Dham road project, inaugurated in 2016, is an ambitious attempt to widen nearly 900 kilometres of hill roads.
- The project also includes the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route.
- The project, which will be executed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH),aims to provide all-weather connectivity to the four major shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinathwhich host Chaardham Yatra in the State of Uttarakhand by widening of single lane roads into double lanes by up to 10 metres.
- The project began as a road connectivity project for pilgrim tourists. Now the government argues that it is essential to back up troop and arms movement towards the India-China border.
- In 2018, the road-expansion project was challenged by an NGO for its potential impact on the Himalayan ecology.
- The Supreme Court ordered the setting up of an independent committee, led by Ravi Chopra, take a view on whether the Centre’s ambitious 900-kilometre, ambitious Char Dham project to improve road network connecting pilgrimage spots in Uttarakhand, needs to be “revised” to minimise its ecological damage.
What is Char Dham Yatra?
- The Char Dham Yatra comprises four holy sites namely Badrinath, Puri, Rameshwaram, and Dwarka located in four different directions of India.
- Badrinath is in the North in Uttarakhand Region.
- Puri or Jagannath Puri is in the East in Odisha.
- Rameshwaram is in the South in Tamil Nadu.
- Dwarka is in the West in Gujarat.
- Badrinath and Rameshwaram are located on the same longitude while Puri and Dwarka on the same latitude, representing the north, south, east and west points of India (before coastlines changed).
- Hindus believe that by completing the Char Dham Yatra, one gets freed from all the sins did in the past and attains moksha or salvation.
- It is believed that Lord Vishnu meditates at Badrinath, takes his bath at Rameshwaram, dines at Puri, and retires at Dwarka.
Char Dham and Adi Shankaracharya
- Adi Shankaracharya founded four “Mathas” or monasteries as seats of Hindu religion at these four holy places comprising the Char Dham.
- He founded the Sringeri Matha in the south (on the Sringeri Hills), the Jyotir Matha at Badrinath in the north, the Sharada Matha on the Dwarka coast in the West, and the Govardhan Matha at Puri in the east.
Char Dham Hindu Temples
- Each of the Char Dham sites (Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram, and Puri) holds many temples and religious monuments, including one important temple as its main attraction.
- At Badrinath, there is the Badrinath Temple whose presiding deity is Shri Badrinath (Lord Vishnu).
- At Puri, the main attraction is the Lord Jagannath Temple whose presiding deity is Lord Jagannath.
- Lord Jagannath is considered a form of Lord Vishnu.
- He is seated with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
- At Rameshwaram, the main attraction is the Rameshwaram Temple whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva.
- He is present in “shiva-linga” form and is named as Sri Ramanatha Swamy.
- At Dwarka, the main attraction is the Dwarkadish (Lord Krishna) Temple, also known as Jagat Temple.
About Chota Char Dham
- It consists of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotriin the Garhwal part of Uttarakhand.
- The name “Chota” was added in the mid-20th Century to differentiate the original Char Dhams (comprising of Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Dwarka, and Puri Jagannath).
- The doorway to this holy journey is Yamunotri. Next destination in Chota Char Dham Yatra is Gangotri. After that, the pilgrims visit Kedarnath and finally Badrinath Dham.
- In fact, the holy shrines of Chota Char Dham represent all the three major sects of Hinduism.
- The Vaishnav shrine is located at Badrinath. The Shaiva temple is located at Kedarnath. The two Shakta temples are at Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Grants to the Rural Local Bodies (PIB)
- Context: The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has released grants to the Rural Local Bodies for the States of Bihar, Karnataka and West Bengal.
- The grants have been recommended for all tiers of the Panchayati Raj and also to the Fifth and Sixth schedule areas.
- Out of the total Grant-in-aid earmarked for Panchayati Raj institutions, 60 percent is earmarked for national priorities like drinking water supply, rainwater harvesting and sanitation (referred as tied grants),while 40 percent is untied and is to be utilized at the discretion of the Panchayati Raj institutions for location specific felt needs.
- 15thFinance Commission (FC-XV) recommended Tied grants are released to Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) on the recommendations of the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation for making improvements on two critical services namely:
- (a) Sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status and
- (b) supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling.
- Untied grants are released to Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) on the recommendations of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj after satisfying the conditions stipulated by the 15thFinance Commission (FC-XV).
- The Local Body grants are meant to ensure additional funds to Rural local bodies over and above the funds allocated by the Centre and the State for sanitation and drinking water under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
- In order to be eligible for grants during the years 2021-22 and 2022-23, Rural Local Bodies have to fulfill certain conditions.
- These conditions have been stipulated to enhance transparency, regular conduct of elections to the local bodies and preparation of annual development plans by the local bodies.
- To receive both tied and untied grants, it is mandatory to prepare and make available online, in the public domain by at least 25 percent of the local bodies, both provisional accounts of the previous year and the audited accounts of the year before previous year.
- Moreover, the accounts must be uploaded on eGramswaraj and Audit Online portal.
- The grant is released only to those local bodies which are duly elected.
- In addition, to be eligible to receive tied grant, Rural Local bodies shall upload development plans on eGramSwaraj containing details of Annual Action Plan for Sanitation and Drinking Water Supply.
- Local bodies must also upload the details of utilization 15thC. funds [both components] on the website.
- The States are required to transfer the grants to the local bodies within 10 working days of receipt from the Union Government.
- Any delay beyond 10 working days requires the State Governments to release the grants with interest.
Group of Seven (G7) (TH)
- Context: S. President Joe Biden announced on Friday that the U.S. and others in the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies would end normal trade relations with Russia as Moscow pursues its invasion of Ukraine.
- G7 consists of Canada, U.S., U.K., Italy, France, Germany and Japan – the seven largest advanced economies.
- Canada, European Union and Russia joined it latter; they were not the founding members.
- Earlier it was G-8 when Russia was suspended from it because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a part of Ukraine.
- Leaders have been meeting in the G7 format since 2014 following the Russian Federation’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- They have 62% of the global wealth and represent 46% of the global GDP.
- Decisions taken at the G7 are not legally binding, but exert strong political influence.
- The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters.
- The rise of India, China, and Brazil over the past few decades has reduced the G-7’s relevance, whose share in global GDP has now fallen to around 40%.
What is Agenda?
- While it initially focused on international economic policy, in the 1980s, the G7 extended its mandate to include issues related to foreign policy and security as well.
- After discussions at a G7 summit in 1985, member countries subsequently signed the Plaza Accords, an agreement that had major ramifications for global currency markets.
- In recent years, G7 leaders have met to formulate common responses to challenges encompassing counterterrorism, development, education, health, human rights and climate change.
- More recently, the Global Apollo Program was launched out of the 2015 G7 summit meeting. Designed to tackle climate change through clean energy research and development, the Apollo Program was conceived by the UK.
- The programme calls for developed nations to commit to spending 0.02% of their GDP on tackling climate change from 2015 to 2025; an amount that would total USD 150 billion over a 10-year period.
The EU as G7 Member
- The European Union is a unique supranational organisation – not a sovereign Member State – hence the name G7 “Group of Seven”.
- The EU is therefore a ‘non-enumerated’ member and does not assume the rotating G7 presidency.
- Nevertheless, the 2014 G7 Summit was hosted by the EU in Brussels.
- This was on account of Russia’s membership having been suspended, and because Russia originally held the G8 Presidency that year.
- Originally, the role of the EU was limited to those areas in which it had exclusive competences, but this role has expanded over time.
- Initially formed as an effort by the US and its allies to discuss economic issues, the G-7 forum has deliberated about several challenges over the decades, such as the oil crashes of the 1970s, the economic changeover of ex-Soviet bloc nations, and many pressing issues such as financial crises, terrorism, arms control, and drug trafficking.
G-7 Vs G-20
- The G-20 is a larger group of countries, which also includes G7 members.
- The G-20 was formed in 1999, in response to a felt need to bring more countries on board to address global economic concerns.
- Apart from the G-7 countries, the G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
- Together, the G-20 countries make up around 80% of the world’s economy.
- As opposed to the G-7, which discusses a broad range of issues, deliberations at the G-20 are confined to those concerning the global economy and financial markets.
- India is slated to host a G-20 summit in 2022.
Vincov-19 (TH, pg 5)
- The first indigenous drug to treat COVID-19 is likely to be made available to the public soon with the completion of clinical trials, which showed “excellent results”, informed Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS).