DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS: 27th MARCH 2020: THE HINDU + PIB

Daily Current Affairs: 27th March 2020: The Hindu+PIB

The following compilation has been made keeping in mind the need of the UPSC IAS exam. Each and every topic which has been included in this compilation is taken from very authentic and relevant source including The HinduThe Indian ExpressBusiness Standard, Press Information Bureau, etc.

As per the evolving pattern of the UPSC IAS prelims and mains exam each and every topic has been handpicked keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam.


Table of Contents

    PRADHAN MANTRI GARIB KALYAN YOJANA


    Context: Finance Minister announces Rs 1.70 Lakh Crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus.


    PM GARIB KALYAN YOJANA




    KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE RELIEF PACKAGE 

    • Insurance cover of Rs 50 Lakh per health worker fighting COVID-19 to be provided under Insurance Scheme.
    • 80 crore poor people will to get 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free every month for the next three months.
    • 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders to get Rs 500 per month for next three months.
    • Increase in MNREGA wage to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 13.62 crore families.
    • An ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 to 3 crore poor senior citizen, poor widows and poor disabled.
    • Government to front-load Rs 2,000 paid to farmers in first week of April under existing PM Kisan Yojana to benefit 8.7 crore farmers.
    • Central Government has given orders to State Governments to use Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund to provide relief to Construction Workers.



    ABOUT PRADHAN MANTRI GARIB KALYAN PACKAGE


    Following are the key components of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: —

    Insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 in Government Hospitals and Health Care Centres

    • Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered by a Special insurance Scheme.
    • Any health professional, who while treating Covid-19 patients, meet with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.
    • All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States would be covered under this scheme  approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.

    PM Garib Kalyan Ann (अन्न) Yojana

    • Government of India would not allow anybody, especially any poor family, to suffer on account of non-availability of foodgrains due to disruption in the next three months.
    • 80 crore individuals, i.e, roughly two-thirds of India’s population would be covered under this scheme.
    • Each one of them would be provided double of their current entitlement over next three months
    • This additionality would be free of cost.
    • Pulses: To ensure adequate availability of protein to all the above mentioned individuals, 1 kg per family, would be provided pulses according to regional preferences for next three monthsThese pulses would be provided free of cost by the Government of India.

    Benefits to farmers Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana


    The first installment of Rs 2,000 due in 2020-21 will be front-loaded and paid in April 2020 itself under the PM KISAN YojanaIt would cover 8.7 crore farmers. 


    Cash transfers Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana

    • Help to Poor: A total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders would be given an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months.
    • Gas cylinders: Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, gas cylinders, free of cost, would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months.
    • Help to low wage earners in organised sectors: Wage-earners below Rs 15,000 per month in businesses having less than 100 workers are at risk of losing their employment.  
      • Under this package, government proposes to pay 24 percent of their monthly wages into their PF accounts for next three monthsThis would prevent disruption in their employment.
    • Support for senior citizens (above 60 years), widows and Divyang: There are around 3 crore aged widows and people in Divyang category who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
      • Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next three months.
    • MNREGA: Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, MNREGA wages would be increased by Rs 20 with effect from 1 April, 2020. Wage increase under MNREGA will provide an additional Rs 2,000 benefit annually to a worker. This will benefit approximately 13.62 crore families.

    Self-Help groups

    • Women organised through 63 lakhs Self Help Groups (SHGs) support 6.85 crore householdsLimit of collateral free lending would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakhs.

    Other components of PM Garib Kalyan package

    • Organised sector: Employees’ Provident Fund Regulations will be amended to include Pandemic as the reason to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts. Families of four crore workers registered under EPF can take benefit of this window.
    • Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Fund: Welfare Fund for Building and Other Constructions Workers has been created under a Central Government Act. 
      • There are around 3.5 Crore registered workers in the Fund.
      • State Governments will be given directions to utilise this fund to provide assistance and support to these workers to protect them against economic disruptions.
    • District Mineral Fund: The State Government will be asked to utilise the funds available under District Mineral Fund (DMF) for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing, screening and other requirements in connection with preventing the spread of CVID-19 pandemic as well as treating the patients affected with this pandemic. 


    Also Read: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE ESSAY IN UPSC IAS MAINS

    GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL CELL FOR FOOD PROCESSORS


    Context: Grievance Redressal Cell has been established in the Union Food Processing Industries Ministry to ensure that problems faced by food processors during the COVID-19 lockdown are resolved at the earliest.


    GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL CELL FOR FOOD PROCESSORS

    KEY DETAILS


    A list of essential food products and their inputs has been enclosed with the letter.  Availability of raw materials, packaging materials, movement of trucks carrying them, functioning of their warehouses and cold storages and ability of workers to come and work in the factories and warehouses needs to be ensured for maintaining food supply chain for the general population.


    WHAT ELSE IS BEING INCLUDED IN THE LETTER?


    For the purpose of understanding food, the definition of ‘Food’ as per Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, will apply: 

    • Manufacturing, transport, distribution & retail of: 
      • Fruits & Vegetables
      • Rice, wheat flour, other cereals and pulses
      • Sugar and salt, spices & masalas
      • Bakery& Dairy (Milk & Milk products)
      • Tea and Coffee
      • Eggs, Meat and Fish
      • Food Grains, Oil, Masala and Food Ingredients
      • Packaged food & Beverages
      • Health supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use (FSDU) and Food for Special Medical Purpose (FSMP).
      • Infant/Baby food
      • Animal Feed/Pet food
    • Food delivery services & e-commerce for above mentioned products.
    • Cold-storage/Warehousing of Food Products
    • Fuel such as Coal, Rice Husk, diesel/furnace oil and others necessary to ensure the running/manufacturing of plants/factories.
    • All raw materials, Intermediaries, packaging materials needed to support the above list of products.

    Suggestive list of raw materials required in packaged food & beverages industry-

    • Packaged food & Beverages: Preservatives; Protein concentrates; Essential amino acids; iodized salt; canola oil; edible vegetable oils and fats; milk powder; various carbohydrates such as sucrose, dextrose, dextrin, maltose dextrin, lactose, honey, corn syrup; malt, liquid glucose.
    • Fruit Juice, Pulp, Concentrate, Sugar, Beverage Base Concentrate.
    • Food additives: Emulsifier, pH adjusting agents, potassium hydrogen carbonate, antioxidants, enzymes, leavening agents, colours, flavours, acidity regulators, dehydrated products.



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    COVID-19 TASK FORCE


    Context: DST has set up a COVID-19 Task force for mapping of technologies from R&D labs, academic institutions, startups, and MSMEs


    COVID-19 TASK FORCE





    WHY THIS COVID-19 TASK FORCE HAS BEEN SET UP?


    The task force has been set up to fund nearly market-ready solutions in the area of diagnostics, testing, health care delivery solutions, equipment supplies. Some of these solutions include masks and other protective gear, sanitizers, affordable kits for screening, ventilators and oxy-genators, data analytics for tracking, monitoring, and controlling the spread of outbreak through AI and IOT based solutions, to name a few.


    The Task Force is to identify the most promising startups that are close to scale up, who may need financial or other help or connects or projected demand to rapidly scale up. 

    WHO ALL ARE INCLUDED IN THE TASK FORCE?


    The COVID-19 Task Force, as a capacity mapping group consists of representatives from DST, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Startup India and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)


    As part of the mechanisms being used for rapid development, manufacturing, and deployment of relevant technology options, DST has already invited two separate sets of proposals, one each under Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) and Technology Development Board (TDB), to support scientific solutions and commercial manufacturing of both new and existing solutions.


      WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2020

      Context: Eighth edition of World Happiness Report has been recently released by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which operates under the auspices of the United Nations since 2012 to mobilize scientific and technical expertise in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


      WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2020


      KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT

      • FINLAND has came up as the top scorer in the World Happiness Report 2020. 
      • Nordic states dominated the top 10, along with countries such as Switzerland, New Zealand and Austria
      • Luxembourg also edged into the 10th spot for the first time this year.
      • The happiest countries are those “where people feel a sense of belonging, where they trust and enjoy each other and their shared institutions.
      • Meanwhile, the countries at the bottom are those afflicted by violent conflicts and extreme poverty, with Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Afghanistan classified as the world’s least happy nations
      • INDIA stood at 144th place in the 2020 report.

      WHAT IS WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2020?

      The World Happiness Report is a publication of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, powered by data from the Gallup World Poll, and supported by the Ernesto Illy Foundation, illycaffè, Davines Group, Blue Chip Foundation, the William, Jeff, and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, and Unilever’s largest ice cream brand Wall’s.


      The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The World Happiness Report 2020 for the first time ranks cities around the world by their subjective well-being and digs more deeply into how the social, urban and natural environments combine to affect our happiness.

      WHAT IS THE THEME OF THIS YEAR’S HAPPINESS REPORT?


      This year’s theme is environments for happiness, with special attention to the social environment, happiness in cities and rural areas, and the natural environment, including links between happiness and sustainable development.


      THE WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2020: HOW IS THIS SURVEY PERFORMED?


      Despite the fact that the World Happiness Reports have been based on a wide variety of data, the most important source has always been the Gallup World Poll, which is unique in the range and comparability of its global series of annual surveys. The life evaluations from the Gallup World Poll provide the basis for the annual happiness rankings that have always spurred widespread interest. Readers may be drawn in by wanting to know how their nation is faring, but soon become curious about the secrets of life in the happiest countries.


      Researchers for Report asked people to evaluate their own levels of happiness, and took into account measures such as GDP, social support, personal freedom and levels of corruption to give each nation a happiness score.


      All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: Income, Healthy life expectancy, Social support, Freedom, Trust and Generosity


      The Gallup World Poll questionnaire measures 14 areas within its core questions: 


      (1) Business & economic, (2) Citizen engagement, (3) Communications & technology, (4) Diversity (social issues), (5) Education & families, (6) Emotions (well-being), (7) Environment & energy, (8) Food & shelter, (9) Government and politics, (10) Law & order (safety), (11) Health, (12) Religion & ethics, (13) Transportation, and (14) Work


      WILL THE WORLD BE HAPPIER IN 2020? DOES IT OFFER ANY INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 AND ITS IMPACT ON HAPPINESS?


      The World Happiness Reports do not make forecasts about future happiness. The global pandemic poses great risks for some of the main supports for well-being, most especially health and income. The effects on the other main supports could go either way. As revealed by earlier studies of earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunamis, and even economic crises, a high trust society quite naturally looks for and finds co-operative ways to work together to repair the damage and rebuild better lives. 


      The global nature of a pandemic raises especially great challenges, since the readiness of people and their institutions to share goals and to help each other is harder to achieve at a greater geographic and political distance. 




      WHAT IS DYSTOPIA ?



      Dystopia is an imaginary country that has the world’s least-happy people. The purpose in establishing Dystopia is to have a benchmark against which all countries can be favorably compared (no country performs more poorly than Dystopia) in terms of each of the six key variables, thus allowing each sub-bar to be of positive (or zero, in six instances) width. 


      The lowest scores observed for the six key variables, therefore, characterize Dystopia. Since life would be very unpleasant in a country with the world’s lowest incomes, lowest life expectancy, lowest generosity, most corruption, least freedom, and least social support, it is referred to as “Dystopia,” in contrast to Utopia.


      WHAT ARE THE RESIDUALS?


      The residuals, or unexplained components, differ for each country, reflecting the extent to which the six variables either over- or under-explain average 2017-2019 life evaluations. These residuals have an average value of approximately zero over the whole set of countries.



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      PAYMENT AGGREGATORS (PAs)

      Context: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formalised guidelines for regulating the activities of Payment Aggregators (PAs) keeping in mind the important functions of these intermediaries in the online payments’ space.


      PAYMENT AGGREGATORS (PAs)



      WHAT IS A PAYMENT AGGREGATOR (PA)?


      A payment aggregator (also called a merchant aggregator) is a service provider through which mobile payments and e-commerce merchants can process payment transactions. An aggregator will allow a merchant to accept card payments and bank transfers without having to set up a merchant account with a bank or credit card association. 


      This is basically an easy and cheap way of accepting payments that can help a small business get off the ground quicker. There are no waiting days or months to start transacting. One of the sole purposes of a payment aggregator is to provide a streamlined payment solution that’s a shortcut from traditional payment methods. 



      An aggregator is what facilitates payment from the consumer via credit cards, bank transfers, or stored value accounts. Each brand differs in the payment aggregation approach, services delivered, and processing fees associated with transacting. It’s up to the merchant to do their research before committing to any payment aggregator. 


      WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF A PAYMENT AGGREGATOR?

      The key benefits of a Payment Aggregator are as follows:

      • COST-EFFECTIVE: The payment aggregator model is a cost-effective and efficient approach for a large volume of smaller transactions. This is why they work well for a marketplace. It provides a boost for e-wallet and credit or debit card processing with minimal fees or fixed costs.
      • APPLICATION PROCESS: It’s a lot simpler than opening your own merchant account. It offers a quick entry into the world of small business. There is no need to formally submit documents or sit down with a bank. A business can start processing credit card payments almost immediately.
      • INSTANT ACCESS: A payment aggregator is quick and easy to set up. All it takes is signing up to process an e-Commerce payment. It creates opportunities for additional talent to enter the market and it gives consumers more options to buy.

      Disadvantages of Payment Aggregators includes:

      • ACCOUNT HOLDS: A payment gateway that allows for instant processing means a higher risk for chargebacks. Aggregators can be slightly paranoid about account holds. Even the smallest hint of irregular activity can lock your account. This extreme caution could keep a business from making a sale if the timing is wrong.
      • DELAYED FUNDS: It’s ultimately up to the aggregator how long they keep your funds. They have their own monthly fees to pay so if they need to float your money, they will. Most merchants are paid within 1-3 business days from the transaction, but it’s not something set in stone. They can choose to release funds in a timely manner or some can hold your money up to 30 days. This is not a common practice, however, because most don’t want to lose customers. 
      • LOWER LIMITS: Aggregators are usually charged based on gross processing volume. That means they pass on limits to merchants. If you use this method, your processing limits will be lower than going with a separate merchant account

      WHAT ARE THE RECENT GUIDELINES OF THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA REGARDING PAYMENT AGGREGATORS?

      • Payment gateways will be considered as technology providers or outsourcing partners of banks or non-banks, as the case may be.
      • A Payment Aggregator should be a company incorporated in India under the Companies Act, 1956 / 2013.
      • Non-bank entities offering payment aggregator services will have to apply for authorisation on or before June 30, 2021.
      • E-commerce marketplaces, according to the guidelines, providing payment aggregator services will have to be separated from the marketplace business and they will have to apply for authorisation on or before June 30, 2021.
        • The biggest examples of this- PhonePe, a Flipkart company, and Paytm’s payment aggregator business are already separate entities from the marketplace models.
      • It has also specified financial requirements for aggregators- payment aggregators existing today will have to achieve a net worth of Rs 15 crore by March 31, 2021 and a net worth of Rs 25 crore by the end of third financial year, which means on  or before March 31, 2023.
      • The net-worth of Rs 25 crore shall be maintained at all times thereafter. 



        Also Read: ULTIMATE GUIDE TO UPSC IAS EXAM PREPARATION

        COVID-19: NATIONAL EMERGENCY IN USA VIA STAFFORD ACT


        Context: In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, United States President Trump declared a National Emergency under the Stafford Act.


        STAFFORD ACT





        WHAT IS STAFFORD ACT ?


        The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988, named after for former Vermont Republican Sen. Robert Stafford, allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help state and local governments during natural catastrophes.


        The act is usually used in response to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, having been most recently invoked when tornadoes hit Tennessee. But some of its provisions are useful in response to a pandemic like the coronavirus (COVID-19).

        WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE STAFFORD ACT IS USED?



        A President may invoke the Stafford Act when state and local officials have determined that an appropriate response to a “major disaster” – like a hurricane or earthquake – exceeds their resources. These areas will then have access to the Disaster Relief Fund, which currently contains about $35 billion.

          IS IT THE FIRST TIME THAT THE ACT HAS BEEN USED?
          NO!. According to a 2015 Congressional Research Service report, the act was used 56 times between 2000 and 2009 during natural disasters and non-pandemic emergencies.

          The Stafford Act is a 1988 amended version of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. It created the system in place today by which a presidential disaster declaration or an emergency declaration triggers financial and physical assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Act gives FEMA the responsibility for coordinating government-wide relief efforts. 


          WHAT IS FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)?


          The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders on April 1, 1979.


          PURPOSE: The agency’s primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities


          The governor of the state in which the disaster occurs must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the president that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster. 


          EXCEPTION: The only exception to the state’s Governor’s declaration requirement occurs when an emergency or disaster takes place on federal property or to a federal asset.


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          ACCESSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN


          Context: Indian Railways is committed to make its Railway Stations and trains accessible for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) as part of “Sugamya Bharat Mission” or Accessible India Campaign of Government of India.  






          ABOUT ACCESSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN

          Accessible India Campaign or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is a program which is set to be launched to serve the differently-able community of the country. The program comes with an index to measure the design of disabled-friendly buildings and human resource policies. 


          The flagship program has been launched by the Prime Minister on 3 December 2015, the International Day of people with Disabilities


          The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has conceptualised the “Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)” as a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.


          The initiative is also in line with the Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India is a signatory since 2007.


          The scheme also comes under Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 under section 44, 45, 46 for equal Opportunities and protection of rights which provides non-discrimination in Transport to Persons with Disabilities.


          COMPONENTS OF THE CAMPAIGN


          Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) has the following three important components: 

          • Built Environment Accessibility
          • Transportation System Accessibility
          • Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility
          STRATEGY: A multi-pronged strategy will be adopted for the campaign with key components as:
          • Leadership endorsements of the campaign,
          • Mass awareness, 
          • Capacity building through workshops, 
          • Interventions (legal frame-work, technology solutions, resource generation, etc. 
          • Leverage corporate sector efforts in a Public-Private Partnership.

          WHAT IS THE NEED AND MILESTONES PROPOSED BY THE CAMPAIGN?

          According to the 2011 Census of India, 2.21% of the population or approximately 26.8 million Indians suffer from a disability. The major milestones includes: 

          • Atleast 50% of all the government buildings of National Capital and all the State capitals will be made fully accessible for persons with disabilities by July 2018.
            • Conducting audit of 50% of government buildings and converting them into fully accessible buildings in 10 most important cities / towns of all the States (July 2019).
          • All the international airports in the country and railway stations of A1, A & B categories will be made fully accessible by July 2016 and conducting accessibility audit of all the domestic airports and converting them into fully accessible airports(March 2018).

          • Ensuring that A1,A & B categories of railway stations in the country are converted into fully accessible railway stations (July 2016).

          • Ensuring that 50% of railway stations in the country are converted into fully accessible railway stations (March 2018).

          • Ensuring that 25% of Government owned public transport carriers in the country are converted into fully accessible carriers (March 2018).

          • Conducting accessibility audit of 50% of all government (both Central and State Governments) websites and converting them into fully accessible websites (March 2017).

          • Ensuring that at least 50% of all public documents issued by the Central Government and the State Governments meet accessibility standards (b).

          • Developing and adoption of national standards on captioning and sign-language interpretation in consultation with National media authorities. (July 2016)

          • Ensuring that 25% of all public television programmes aired by government channels meet these standards.(March 2018)

          NSO SURVEY ON HAND-WASHING



          Context: A survey has been done by the National Statistics Office (NSO) regarding washing of hands with soap and water in India as it is one of the basic protective measures against CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19).


          NSO SURVEY ON HANDWASHING

          WHAT ARE THE FINDINGS OF THIS SURVEY?

          • The Survey shows that it’s not a habit that comes easily to most Indians. 
          • The survey, the results of which were made public in a report titled ‘Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition’ in November 2019, covered 1,06,838 households (63,736 in rural areas and 43,102 in urban areas).
          • According to the survey, while members of most households (99 %) wash their hands before a meal, only those in 35.8 per cent households do so with “water and soap/detergent”.
          • While members of 56% urban households reported washing their hands with water and soap before eating, only 25.3% households in rural areas did so.
          • The percentage of households whose members practise hand washing ‘with water and soap/detergent’ before a meal was found to be lowest in Jharkhand (10.6 per cent) and the highest in Sikkim (87.1 per cent).
          • Apart from Jharkhand, Bihar (14.3%), Odisha (15.1%), Uttar Pradesh (23.8%) and Tamil Nadu (27.3%) made it to the bottom 5 states which fared poorly on hand-washing.
          • Sikkim is followed by Himachal Pradesh (86.2%), Chandigarh (81%), Punjab (77.5%) and Delhi (73.5%) as states where most people washed their hands the recommended way – with water and soap.
          • Then, there are households where people wash their hands before a meal, but not with water and soap/detergent.
          • About 60.4% households69.9% rural and 42.1% urban — used only water to wash their hands before eating.
          • About 2.7% households3.5% rural, 1.3% urban -used “water and ash/mud/sand etc.” to wash hands. There were about 1% households that did not wash hands at all before a meal. 
          WHAT DOES THE REPORT SHOWS?


          This low level of hand hygiene is likely to pose a major challenge as the country deals with COVID-19. In order to contain the spread of coronavirus, the government has advised people to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub as an effective way to kill viruses. The World Health Organisation too has advised people to frequently wash their hands.


          ABOUT NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE (NSO)


          The National Statistical Office (NSO) headed by a Director General comes under the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation and is responsible for conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on All India basis. 


          Primarily data are collected through nation-wide household surveys on various socio-economic subjects, Annual Survey of Industries (ASI), etc. Besides these surveys, NSO collects data on rural and urban prices and plays a significant role in the improvement of crop statistics through supervision of the area enumeration and crop estimation surveys of the State agencies.  It also maintains a frame of urban area units for use in sample surveys in urban areas. 


          The National Statistics Office (NSO) has four main divisions:

          • Survey Design and Research Division (SDRD): This Division, located at Kolkata, is responsible for technical planning of surveys, formulation of concepts and definitions, sampling design, designing of inquiry schedules, drawing up of tabulation plan, analysis and presentation of survey results.
          • Field Operations Division (FOD): The Division, with its headquarters at Delhi/Faridabad and a network of six Zonal Offices, 52 Regional Offices and 117 Sub-Regional Offices spread throughout the country, is responsible for the collection of primary data for the surveys undertaken by NSO.
          • Data Processing Division (DPD): The Division, with its headquarters at Kolkata and 5 other Data Processing Centers at various places, is responsible for sample selection, software development, processing, validation and tabulation of the data collected through surveys. 
            • Price and Wages in Rural India collected through schedule 3.01(R) is being processed at DPC Giridih
            • In addition, DPD is also processing the data of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)
            • Industrial Statistics Wing (IS Wing), DPD, NSO, Kolkata is responsible for sample selection, data processing, validation and tabulation of the Annual Survey of Industries(ASI) data collected through a dedicated web-portal.
          • Survey Coordination Division (SCD): This Division, located at New Delhi, coordinates all the activities of different Divisions of NSO. It also brings out the bi-annual journal of NSO, titled “Sarvekshana”, and organizes National Seminars on the results of various Socio-economic surveys undertaken by NSO.

          Context: Project ‘Isaac’ has been launched by Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IITGN) to engage its students in creative projects to enhance their critical skills while they are confined to their homes because of CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19).


          PROJECT "ISSAC"



          WHAT IS THIS PROJECT ALL ABOUT?



          This Project “ISAAC” is inspired by Sir Isaac Newton, who was similarly sent home by Trinity College, Cambridge, because of the Great Plague of London in 1665During this year, Newton, then a 22-year-old college student developed some of his most profound discoveries, including early calculus, as well as his theories of optics and gravity.


          As part of the Project, 4 different competitions are being organized by IIT, Gandhinagar to cultivate new skills among students regarding writing, painting, coding, music, creative expression, and so on. Students can take part in competitions online. Project Isaac is a model for academic institutions worldwide to explore ways to engage students in the midst of the pandemic.  



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