Current Affairs Daily Current Affairs 22

22ndMarch,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 22ndMarch,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUJ) (PIB)
  • Bali Interim Peace Clause (PIB)
  • World War II Peace Treaty and Kuril Islands (TH, pg 13)
  • Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) (IE)
  • Disaster Management Plan of Ministry of Panchayati Raj (DMP-MoPR) (PIB)

 

  1. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUJ) (PIB)

  • Context:Greater penetration and usage of LPG as a cooking fuel is estimated to have prevented at least 1.5 lakh air pollution-related premature deaths in the year 2019 alone, according to the first independent impact assessment of the government’s flagship Ujjwala programme.

Analysis

  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas under which deposit-free LPG connection is given to the eligible poor households with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection.
  • PMUY is under implementation in the all the States/UTs.
  • Release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the eligible poor household.
  • Beneficiaries are identified through Socio-Economic Caste Census List-2011 and in such cases where names are not covered under SECC list, beneficiaries are identified from seven categories which includes:
  • SC/ST households,
  • Beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) (Gramin),
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana,
  • Most Backward Classes,
  • Forest Dwellers,
  • Resident of Islands/River Islands and
  • Tea Garden & Ex-tea Garden Tribes.
  • If she is not falling in the above categories, then she can stake her claim to be a beneficiary under Poor household by submitting a 14-point declaration.
  • PMUY has been recognised by World Health Organisation as one of the decisive intervention by the Government to address the Indoor Air Pollution which accounts for nearly 10 lakh deaths in a year in the country.

The journey from Ujjwala 1.0 to Ujjwala 2.0

  • During Ujjwala 1.0 launched in 2016, a target to provide LPG connections to 8 crore women members of BPL households was achieved in August 2019.
  • In the Union budget for FY 21-22, provision for an additional one crore LPG connection under the PMUY scheme was announced.
  • These one crore additional PMUY connections (under Ujjwala 2.0) aim to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY.
  • Along with a deposit free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide first refill and hotplate free of cost to the beneficiaries.
  • In Ujjwala 2.0, migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof. A self-declaration for both ‘family declaration’ and as a ‘proof of address’ will suffice.

Household air pollution and health: WHO

  • Around 2.6 billion people cook using polluting open fires or simple stoves fuelled by kerosene, biomass (wood, animal dung and crop waste) and coal.
  • Each year, close to 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves paired with solid fuels and kerosene.
  • Household air pollution causes non-communicable diseases including stroke, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
  • Close to half of deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 years of age are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution.
  • Black carbon (sooty particles) and methane emitted by inefficient stove combustion are powerful climate change pollutants.
  • Reductions in air pollution-related disease burden (both for household and outdoor) will be used to monitor the progress towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goal on Health (SDG 3).
  • Ensuring universal access to clean fuel and technologies is a target of the Sustainable Development Goal on energy (SDG 7). 
  1. Bali Interim Peace Clause (PIB)

  • Context:The US has questioned India’s “sky-rocketing” rice exports in 2021 and accused it at the WTO of using the ‘Bali Interim Peace Clause’ for over-shooting subsidy limits without meeting the requirement of separately notifying its public stock holding (PSH) programmes.

Analysis

  • At the recent Committee on Agriculture meet, New Delhi assured WTO members, that its rice exportin 2021, was not sourced from its rice stocks from PSH programmes procured at MSP (minimum support price).
  • However, the US and other members said that India failed to fulfil the obligation set out by the Bali interim decision, which requires a separate notification on members’ PSH programmes.
  • Giving details on procurement of all crops under PSH will not only be logistically a tall order for India but can lead to more scrutiny and criticism as wheat farmers in the US have also been accusing India of breaching subsidy limits for wheat, in addition to rice.

Breaching subsidy limit

  • India had informed the WTO in early 2020 that it had breached the subsidy limit fixed at 10 per cent of the value of food production (called de minimis)for developing countries (under the Agreement on Agriculture) for rice in 2018-19.
  • To stop other members from taking legal action against the breach, India invoked the ‘peace clause’ agreed to at the WTO’s Bali Ministerial meeting in December 2013 that allowed developing countries to breach subsidy limits on food crops subject to certain conditions being met related to notifications and food security.
  • With over 40 per cent increase (year-on-year) in India’s rice exports in both 2020 and 2021, and the country now close to accounting for half of the world’s total export of rice, questions on India’s MSP operations have been raised at the WTO.
  • The Bali Ministerial Conference (2013) provides perpetual protection to public stockholding programmes of a developing Member for food security purposes from being challenged in relation to certain obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture until a permanent solution is agreed and adopted.
  • India is a member of G-33, a coalition group of developing Members, and has been making all efforts to negotiate and achieve a positive outcome on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes.

Agreement on Agriculture (AoA)

  • It is one of the Uruguay Round agreements signed by governments in 1994 in Marrakech.
  • The AoA established rules for agricultural trade for all WTO members.
  • The AoA’s core objective “is to establish a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system.”
  • The AoA comprises three sections: market access, domestic support and export subsidies.
  • Negotiators refer to these three sections as the three pillars of the agreement.
  • One of the central objectives of the AoA is to cut trade-distorting domestic support that WTO member countries provide to agriculture.
  • In this regard, the domestic subsidies are divided into three categories: ‘green box’, ‘blue box’ and ‘amber box’ measures.
  • Subsidies that fall under the ‘green box’ (like income support to farmers de-coupled from production) and ‘blue box’ (like direct payments under production limiting programmes subject to certain conditions) are considered non-trade distorting.
  • Countries can provide unlimited subsidies under these two categories.
  • However, price support provided in the form of procurement of crops at MSP is classified as a trade-distorting subsidy and falls under the ‘amber box’ measures, which are subject to certain limits.
  1. World War II Peace Treaty and Kuril Islands (TH, pg 13)

  • Context: Russia recently said that it was abandoning talks with Japan aimed at signing a formal World War II peace treaty, due to Japan’s tough response to sanctions over Ukraine’s invasion by Russian military.

Analysis

  • Both sides were holding talks over four islands — known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan
  • The Soviet Union seized the disputed islands in the final days of World War II, expelling thousands of Japanese residents.
  • The two countries never sealed a treaty ending the war and have wrangled for decades over the territories.

About Kuril Islands

  • Kuril Islands are stretched from the Japanese island of Hokkaido to the southern tip of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula separating Okhotsk Sea from the North Pacific Ocean.
  • The chain is part of the belt of geologic instability called as Pacific- Ring of fire (Volcanism and Earth quakes are a frequent phenomenon)

Events in the Past

Paris Peace Treaties

  • The Paris Peace Treaties were signed in February 1947 following the end of World War II in 1945.
  • The victorious wartime Allied powers (principally the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, United States and France) negotiated the details of peace treaties with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland.
  • The treaties allowed the defeated Axis powers to resume their responsibilities as sovereign states in international affairs and to qualify for membership in the United Nations.

Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

  • The Paris Peace Conference convened in January 1919 at Versailles just outside Paris.
  • The conference was called to establish the terms of the peace after World War I.
  • The “Big Four” (United Kingdom, France, the United States, Italy) dominated the proceedings that led to the formulation of the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty that ended World War I.
  • It included the planned formation of the League of Nations, which would serve both as an international forum and an international collective security arrangement.
  1. Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) (IE)

  • Context: The 10th Foundation Day celebrations of LPAI was held recently.
  • It is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing border infrastructure in India.

Analysis

  • It is established as a statutory body under the LPAI Act, 2010.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It is entrusted with the task of building land ports on India’s borders.
  • It provides infrastructure facilities to facilitate secure and efficient movement of both the cargo and passengers.
  • Its objective is to reduce dwell time and trade transaction costs, promote regional trade and people-to-people contact.
  • It manages Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) all across Borders of India.

Do you know?

  • Owing to its central geographical location, India shares over 15,000 kms long international land border with seven countries in South Asia, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
  • Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) provide complete state of the art infrastructure facilities such as warehouses, examination sheds, parking bays, weighbridges etc. for cross border movement of passengers and goods at designated locations along India’s international border.
  1. Disaster Management Plan of Ministry of Panchayati Raj (DMP-MoPR) (PIB)

  • Under the Plan, every Indian village would have “Village Disaster Management Plan” and every Panchayat would have their Disaster Management Plan.