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Prelims Booster

15th August – Prelims Booster

SRIJAN

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has launched Department of Defence Production, MoD’s portal SRIJAN which is a ‘one stop shop online portal that provides access to the vendors to take up items that can be taken up for indigenisation’.

What is SRIJAN?

  • Pursuant to Atmanirbhar Bharat announcement, Department of Defence Production, MoD has developed an indigenisation portal, srijandefence.gov.in, as “opportunities for Make in India in Defence”, which will give information on items that can be taken up for indigenisation by the private sector.
  • On this portal, DPSUs/OFB/SHQs can display their items which they have been importing or are going to import which the Indian Industry can design, develop and manufacture as per their capability or through joint venture with OEMs.
  • The Indian Industry will be able to show their interest. The concerned DPSUs/OFB/SHQs, based on their requirement of the items and their guidelines & procedures will interact with the Indian industry for indigenisation.
  • The portal displays information in a structured way, which includes the item name, image and specification, values of imports, NATO Classification (indicative), etc. It also has a search facility.
  • In the first stage, DPSUs/OFB/SHQs have displayed those items which they have imported in 2019-20 and going to import in 2020-21, for the annual value of the items as Rs 1 million and above.

Nashamukt Bharat Campaign

Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment has addressed the gathering of 272 District Collectors, 31 State Secretaries, more than 500 NGOs/VOs, Officers of Narcotics Control Bureau, Doctors and Professionals of NDDTC, AIIMS, and all the officers involved with “Nasha Mukt Bharat” campaign in the States and Districts.

Details –

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Campaign’ being implemented in 272 districts which are identified as most affected in terms of usage of substances.
  • State Governments and the 272 District Collectors have launched the Nasha Mukht Bharat Campaign on 15th August 2020 which will run for 7 months till 31st March 2021.
  • District and State level Nasha Mukt Bharat Committees formed would devise a strategy and Action plan for the campaign. These committees would ensure that campaign activities are effectively implemented, and the objectives of the campaign are met.
  • These 272 districts have been identified based on the inputs received from Narcotics Control Bureau and the findings on the comprehensive National survey done by the Ministry.
  • The financial allocation of Rs. 43 crore in 2017 has been enhanced to Rs. 260 crore in 2020.

Key features of the campaign –

The Campaign Plan has the following components:

  • Awareness generation programmes;
  • Focus on Higher Educational institutions, University Campuses and Schools;
  • Community outreach and identification of dependent population;
  • Focus on Treatment facilities in Hospital settings; and
  • Capacity Building Programmes for Service Provider.

Swasthya

Union Tribal Affairs Ministry has launched “Swasthya”, a first of its kind ‘Tribal Health & Nutrition Portal’. It is a one-stop solution for the health & nutrition status of the tribal population of India.

Details –

  • ‘Swasthya’ is the first of its kind comprehensive platform for health and nutrition related information of the tribal population of India.
  • It has a dashboard, knowledge repository, partner segment, Sickle Cell Diseases (SCD) support corner. The dashboard presents data curated from multiple sources for the 177 identified high priority tribal districts.
  • In addition, the Portal also has research studies, innovations and best practices on tribal community curated from multiple sources related to tribal health and nutrition.
  • In addition, the SCD Support Corner available in the Portal encourages people with Sickle Cell disease or trait to register themselves.

Significance –

It is hoped that this Portal will bridge the existing knowledge, drive evidence-based policy making and catalyse a series of actions which will ultimately lead to overall improvements in the health and nutrition status of the tribal population in India.

Who will manage it?

  • The Portal will be managed by the Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Knowledge Management inHealth and Nutrition, established by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute.
  • This CoE works towards consolidating data for tribal health & nutrition, facilitating evidence-based policy making, documenting successful models, best practices and innovative solutions, disseminating and facilitating exchange of knowledge, creating networks and collaborating with stakeholders to improve tribal health & nutrition outcomes.

Statement of Financial Transactions (SFT)

The Income-tax Department has planned to expand the scope of reportable financial transactions under the Statement of Financial Transactions (SFT).

What is SFT?

  • SFT is a report of specified financial transactions by specified persons including prescribed reporting financial institution. Such specified persons who register, maintain or record such specified financial transaction are mandated to submit SFT to the income tax department.
  • Banks and financial institutions used to share information about high-value transactions recorded in SFTs with tax authorities.
  • In their SFTs, banks and other reporting financial institutions record details of transactions involving cash deposits aggregating Rs 10 lakh or more in a year, in one or more accounts (other than a current account and time deposit), cash payments made by any person totalling over Rs 1 lakh, and payments of bills for one or more credit card of Rs 10 lakh or more by a person in a financial year.

Which transactions are proposed to be added?

As part of the proposed expansion of reportable transactions under SFTs, the following transactions would be under scanner –

  • Payment of educational fee/ donations above Rs 1 lakh per annum
  • Payment to hotels above Rs 20,000
  • Purchase of jewellery, white goods, marbles, paintings, etc above Rs 1 lakh
  • Life insurance premium over Rs 50,000
  • Payment of property tax above Rs 20,000 per annum
  • Electricity consumption above Rs 1 lakh per annum
  • Health insurance premium above Rs 20,000
  • Deposits/credits in current account above Rs 50 lakh
  • Deposits/ credits in non-current account above Rs 25 lakh
  • Domestic business class air travel/ foreign travel
  • Share transactions/ demat accounts/ bank lockers

The government also proposes compulsory filing of returns by a person having bank transactions over Rs 30 lakh, payment of rent over Rs 40,000 and all professionals and businesses having turnover over Rs 50 lakh.

Why?

The government states these measures are aimed at widening the tax base. For taxpayers, this implies enhanced flow of information to tax authorities.

Typhoid Mary

To ensure that Covid-19 does not cook up a pandemic in the force, the Punjab Police is briefing its mess staff about Irish woman Mary Mallon, who is believed to have infected 53 persons with typhoid fever in the last century. She is identified as the first asymptomatic carrier of the disease in the US, which earned her the sobriquet of ‘Typhoid Mary’.

Punjab Police has directed officials to “give the example of Typhoid Mary” to cooks and other staff working in every mess.

About Mary Mallon –

  • Mary immigrated to the United States in 1883 and subsequently made her living as domestic servant, most often as a cook. It is not clear when she became a carrier of the typhoid bacterium (Salmonella typhi).
  • However, from 1900 to 1907 nearly two dozen people fell ill with typhoid fever in households in New York City and Long Island where Mary worked.
  • The illness often occurred shortly after Mary began working in each household, but, by the time the disease was traced to its source where she had recently been employed, Mary had disappeared.

How India got its national flag?

On July 22, 1947, when members of the Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall in Delhi, the first item on the agenda was reportedly a motion by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, about adopting a national flag for free India.

It was proposed that “the National Flag of India shall be horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesari), white and dark green in equal proportion.” The white band was to have a wheel in navy blue (the charkha being replaced by the chakra), which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.

First national flag of India –

  • While an Indian flag was reportedly designed by Sister Nivedita, an Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda, between 1904-1906, arguably the first national flag of India is said to have been hoisted on August 7, 1906, in Kolkata at the Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park).
  • It comprised three horizontal strips of red, yellow and green, with Vande Mataram written in the middle. Believed to have been designed by freedom activists Sachindra Prasad Bose and Hemchandra Kanungo, the red strip on the flag had symbols of the sun and a crescent moon, and the green strip had eight half-open lotuses.
  • Next year, in 1907, Madame Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries hoisted an Indian flag in Germany in 1907 — this was the first Indian flag to be hoisted in a foreign land.
  • In 1917, Dr Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak adopted a new flag as part of the Home Rule Movement. It had five alternate red and four green horizontal stripes, and seven stars in the saptarishi configuration. A white crescent and star occupied one top corner, and the other had Union Jack.

Origins of present-day flag –

  • The design of the Indian tricolour is largely attributed to Pingali Venkayya, an Indian freedom fighter who reportedly first met Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa during the second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), when he was posted there as part of the British Indian Army.
  • At the All India Congress Committee in Bezwada in 1921, Venkayya again met Gandhi and proposed a basic design of the flag, consisting of two red and green bands to symbolise the two major communities, Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi arguably suggested adding a white band to represent peace and the rest of the communities living in India, and a spinning wheel to symbolise the progress of the country.
  • Several changes continued to be made till a decade later, when in 1931 the Congress Committee met in Karachi and adopted the tricolour as our national flag. Red was replaced with saffron and the order of the colours was changed. The flag was to have no religious interpretation.

Flag of independent India –

  • The Tricolour was altered to become the flag of Independent India. Saffron on top symbolises “strength and courage”, white in the middle represents “peace and truth” and green at the bottom stands for “fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land”.
  • The Ashok Chakra with 24 spokes replaced the spinning wheel as the emblem on the flag. It is intended “to show that there is life in movement and death in stagnation”.

Normalisation of Israel-UAE ties

In a move that significantly impacts geopolitics in the Middle East, Israel and the United Arab Emirates Thursday announced that they will normalise diplomatic relations. In a joint statement released by the US, Israel and the UAE, the leaders of the three countries agreed to “the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates”, calling the agreement a “historic diplomatic breakthrough” that would “advance peace in the Middle East region”. The agreement that will be called the ‘Abraham Accord’ was brokered by US President Donald Trump.

Why is it important?

  • This move is significant because with the exception of Jordan and Egypt, Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab states owing to its long-standing conflict with Palestinians.
  • Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994. However, despite the absence of official diplomatic relations, Israel has been engaging with its neighbours with regard to issues like trade.
  • The agreement comes after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to suspend plans to annex parts of the West Bank, one that had been bitterly criticised by these Gulf Arab states, Europe and a few other countries around the world.

Why this agreement has been made?

  • The situation in the Middle East is complex and some observers believe that domestic politics in Israel and the US may also have a little to do with this agreement.
  • Several nations in the Middle East also have contentious relations with Iran and this improvement in relations between Israel and the UAE may be an attempt by the US and Israel to use the leverage to urge other Gulf Arab states to alienate Iran.

What does the agreement say?

  • Israel and the UAE plans to finalise bilateral ties and cover areas of investment, tourism, the establishment of direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, cultural exchange, environmental issues, and the establishment of embassies, in addition to other areas of cooperation. The joint statement mentioned that Israel and the UAE would also be “forging closer people-to-people relations”.
  • The statement also said that Israel will “focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world”, and that the US and UAE would be assisting it in achieving that goal.

India-Maldives relations

India has announced a slew of new connectivity measures for the Maldives, including air, sea, intra-island and telecommunications in an effort to help the Indian Ocean Islands deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are these initiatives?

Among the initiatives announced are an air connectivity “bubble” for travel, a direct ferry service, a submarine cable for telecom connectivity; and assistance for the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP) to connect Male to three neighbouring islands, the biggest such project thus far. India has decided to support the implementation of the GMCP in Maldives, through a financial package consisting of a grant of USD 100 million and a new Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 400 million.

About the GMCP –

  • The GMCP would be the “largest civilian infrastructure project in Maldives”
  • The project, which will consist of a number of bridges and causeways to connect Male to Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands that span 6.7 km, will take much of the pressure off the main capital island of Male for commercial and residential purposes.
  • The $400 million Line of Credit comes in addition to a previous LoC of $800 million that was announced by New Delhi in December 2018.
  • When completed, the project would render the Chinese-built Sinemale Friendship bridge connecting Male to two other islands, thus far the most visible infrastructure project in the islands, “insignificant in comparison”.

What is a ‘Line of Credit’?

The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government. The LOCs also helps to promote exports of Indian goods and services, as 75% of the value of the contract must be sourced from India.

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