1. PMJAY extended to Missing Middle
According to the report Health Insurance for India’s Missing Middle, At least 30 percent of the population, or 40 crore individuals – called the ‘missing middle’ – are devoid of any financial protection for health.
NITI Aayog has suggested that the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) scheme be extended to cover a section of people without health insurance.
- The Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and State Government extension schemes, provide comprehensive hospitalization cover to the bottom 50% of the population – around 70 crore individuals.
- Around 20% of the population– 25 crore individuals –are covered through social health insurance, and private voluntary health insurance.
- The remaining 30% of the population is devoid of health insurance; the actual uncovered population is higher due to existing coverage gaps in PMJAY and overlap between schemes.
- The report has recommended three models for increasing the health insurance coverage in the country.
- The first model focuses on increasing consumer awareness of health insurance
- The second model is about developing a modified, standardized health insurance product like ‘Arogya Sanjeevani’.A slightly modified version with low waiting periods could benefit People
- The third model expands government-subsidized health insurance through the PMJAY scheme to a wider set of beneficiaries.
- The third model can be utilized for segments of the missing middle which remain uncovered, due to limited ability to pay for the voluntary contributory models outlined above.
- This is the only model out of three proposed which has financial implications for the Government.
- The report has also suggested sharing the government scheme data with private insurance companies.
- Government databases such as National Food Security Act (NFSA), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, or the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) for agricultural households can be shared with private insurers after taking consent from these households, suggesting an outreach strategy.
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2. Odisha Tax Exemption on EVs
- The government of Odisha announced full exemption of motor vehicles taxes and registration fees on electric vehicles (EVs) in the state.
- This decision was taken for encouraging faster adoption of EVs.
- An exemption was granted under the Odisha Motor Vehicles Taxation Act and is applicable till 2025.
- The state government also proposed to extend some incentives for the manufacturers, buyers, batteries & charging stations of electric vehicles in accordance with Odisha Electric Vehicle Policy.
- The government announced an exemption of 100 percent on motor vehicles taxes and registration fees for battery-operated vehicles.
3. Dairy Sahakar Scheme
- Dairy Sahakar scheme was launched at Anand, Gujarat during a function organized by Amul to celebrate the 75th Foundation Year of Amul.
- The total outlay of the Dairy Sahakar scheme is Rs 5000 crore.
- The scheme will be implemented by National Cooperative Development Corporation under the Ministry of Cooperation.
- The scheme will supplement the existing efforts of strengthening the dairy sector in the country, doubling the farmer’s income as well as realizing the vision of cooperation to prosperity.
- NCDC will extend financial support to eligible cooperatives for activities like bovine development, milk procurement, processing, quality assurance, value addition, branding, packaging, marketing, and export.
4. UDAI exemption from Law
- The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has asked for exemption from the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Law.
- The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019 has a contentious section 35, which invokes “sovereignty and integrity of India,” “public order”, “friendly relations with foreign states” and “security of the state” to give powers to the Central government to suspend all or any of the provisions of this Act for government agencies.
- The UIDAI demanded that it should get a blanket exemption from the act under this section.
- It further argued that it already is being governed by the Aadhaar Act and the PDP bill could be counterproductive.
- Section 12 of the 2019 Bill gives UIDAI some leeway from the rigors of the Bill as it enables for processing data for the provision of a service or benefit to the data principal.
- The Unique Identification Authority of India is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
- The Aadhaar Act 2016 has been amended by the Aadhaar and Other Laws Act, 2019.
- UIDAI was created to issue Unique Identification numbers, named “Aadhaar”, to all residents of India.
- The UID had to be robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and verifiable and authenticable in an easy, cost-effective way.
- UIDAI is responsible for Aadhaar enrolment and authentication, including operation and management of all stages of Aadhaar life cycle, developing the policy, procedure, and system for issuing Aadhaar number
5. Census for Indus River Dolphin
- The census of one of the world’s most threatened cetaceans, the Indus river dolphin is all set to commence in the winter as part of a project by the Centre.
- Punjab’s wildlife preservation wing has gone a step ahead to not only protect the dolphins but also their natural habitat.
Indus River Dolphin
- The Indus river dolphin is classified as endangered by the IUCN
- Platanista gangetica minor a freshwater dolphin
- It was believed that these dolphins were endemic to Pakistan, but in 2007, a remnant but viable population of Indus dolphins were discovered in Punjab’s Harike wildlife sanctuary and in the lower Beas river.
- Since its discovery, research is being done by Punjab’s Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation in partnership with WWF-India on the current distribution, habitat use, and population abundance of the mammal.
- The Indus river dolphin was declared the State aquatic animal of Punjab in 2019.
- Enumeration of freshwater dolphins is being undertaken as a nationwide project of the Central Government.
- At the State level, the Punjab Government has taken the initiative for the conservation of dolphins and their habitat.
- The State Government has recently sent a proposal to the Government of India that focuses on a multi-pronged strategy, including habitat management, research, monitoring, and education
- The project is to be implemented over five years giving emphasis on Habitat conservation
- Emphasis will be laid to collect data on the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of species and population status through an established and approved methodology.
- Alongside research, the importance will be on engaging the riparian communities by encouraging community-led biological monitoring.
- Villages around the hot spot sites of dolphin occurrence will be developed as models for community-led conservation.
- Extension programs will be held to develop a group of dedicated individuals, called ‘Beas-Dolphin Mitras’ of the river Beas.
6. World Heritage forests
- According to the UNSECO report World Heritage forests: Carbon sinks under pressure, shows that instead of helping mitigate global warming, some of the world’s most treasured forests are in fact adding to overall CO2 emissions.
- It is the first-ever scientific assessment of greenhouse gas emissions in forests
- It has been found that since the turn of the millennium, some forests have released more carbon than they sequestered due to wildfires, deforestation, and global heating.
- Given that the sites are highly prized and protected, the fact that 10 of the 257 forests surveyed are showing a carbon surplus, between 2001 and 2020 due to human activity.
- According to UNESCO’s findings, at some sites the clearance of land for agriculture caused emissions to be greater than sequestration.
- The increasing scale and severity of wildfires, often linked to severe periods of drought, was also a predominant factor in several cases.
- Other extreme weather phenomena, such as hurricanes, contributed to certain sites.
Highlights of the report
- The research reveals that overall, the network of 257 forests in World Heritage sites, played a vital role in mitigating climate change, by absorbing 190 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.
- That’s roughly half of the United Kingdom’s annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
- World Heritage forests, whose combined area of 69 million hectares is roughly twice the size of Germany, are biodiversity-rich ecosystems.
- In addition to absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, they also store substantial amounts of carbon.
- Carbon sequestration by these forests over long periods has led to total carbon storage of approximately 13 billion tons, which is more than the carbon in Kuwait’s proven oil reserves.
- Strong and sustained protection of those sites and surrounding landscapes can contribute to effective solutions for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and biodiversity.
- The report urges increased and sustained protection of UNESCO World Heritage sites and their surrounding landscapes to ensure their forests can continue to act as strong carbon sinks and stores for future generations.
- Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, Indonesia
- Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras
- Yosemite National Park, United States
- Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, Canada & United States
- Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains, South Africa
- Kinabalu Park, Malaysia
- Uvs Nuur Basin, Russia & Mongolia
- Grand Canyon National Park, United States
- Greater Blue Mountains Area, Australia
- Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Dominica
7. Climate Equity Monitor
- India officially endorsed a website called Climate Equity Monitor made by Indian climate experts, listing the historical carbon dioxide emissions of developed countries.
- The website seeks to debunk the narrative provided by several developed countries and global non-government organizations which focus on what developing countries must do.
- This scientific initiative focuses on equity and climate action from a data & evidence-based perspective, which in turn will encourage discussions on crucial issues.
- On the website, performance & policies of Non-Annex-I Parties (developing countries)
- India endorsed the emission list ahead of commencement of the 26th United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) in Glasgow in Scotland.
- An emission list was created with the aim of highlighting the disparity between the emissions of developed and developing countries.
- Countries like the United States, Australia, Canada & countries in Western Europe are shown as having a net carbon debt, on the other hand, developing countries like India & China are having net credit.
- Thus, the database highlights that, it is only fair that developed countries should commit to steeper targets for curbing emissions as compared to developing countries.
- India is the third-largest emitter of carbon emissions on yearly basis. However, it is the sixth-largest with respect to its historical emissions.
8. The first ship of Project 15B
Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) delivered the first ship of Project 15B Class Destroyer Visakhapatnam to the Indian Navy.
- It was constructed using indigenous steel.
- It is among the largest destroyers that are constructed in India.
- Its overall length is 164 meters and the displacement of around 7,500 tonnes.
- The ship is a potent platform that is capable of undertaking several tasks and missions, over the full spectrum of maritime warfare.
- It is equipped with Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missiles and supersonic surface-to-surface Brahmos missiles.
- It is fitted with indigenously developed anti-submarine weapons as well as sensors for undersea warfare capability.
- It comprises heavyweight torpedo tube Launchers & rocket launchers as well as hull-mounted sonar Humsa NG.
- The ship has an endurance of 400 nautical miles.
9. Rome Declaration
- Rome Declaration was adopted during the 2 day G 20 Summit.
- The Leaders adopted the ‘Rome Declaration’ and under the health, section the communique gives a very strong message.
- Countries agreed on the fact that Covid-19 immunization is a global public good.
- During the summit, countries also agreed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be strengthened to fast-track the process for emergency use authorization of Covid-19 vaccines.
- The main focus of the session was on energy and climate.
- Several developing countries called for safeguarding the interest of the developing world.
The Rome Declaration consists of 16 mutually agreed principles, which aim to guide joint action for preventing future health crises and to build a safer, equitable, and sustainable world. 16 principles are as follows:
- Supporting and enhancing the existing multilateral health architecture for detection, response, prevention, and preparedness.
- Working towards monitoring & implementation of multi-sectoral, evidence-based One Health approach in a bid to address risks emerging due to interface between human, animal & environment.
- Fostering all-of-society and health-in-all policies.
- Promotion of multilateral trading system
- Enabling equitable, affordable, and global access to high-quality, safe & effective health systems.
- Supporting low and middle-income countries in a bid to build expertise, and develop local & regional manufacturing capacities.
- Focus on data sharing, capacity building, voluntary technology, and licensing agreements.
- Enhancing support to existing preparedness and prevention structures.
- Investing in worldwide health & care workforce
- Investing inadequate resources, training, and staffing of diagnostic public & animal health laboratories.
- Investments for developing and improving inter-operable early warning surveillance, information, and trigger systems
- Investments in domestic, international & multilateral cooperation for the purpose of research, development & innovation
- Increasing effectiveness of preparedness & response measures by extending support and promoting meaningful & inclusive dialogue
- Ensuring the effectiveness of financing mechanisms
- Coordination on pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures and emergency response with respect to sustainable and equitable recovery
- Addressing the need for streamlined, enhanced, sustainable, and predictable mechanisms for financing pandemic preparedness, prevention, detection, and response in long term.
10. SCO adopts Protocol
- Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) adopted a protocol to strengthen cooperation in preventing and combating the growing menace of human trafficking, especially women and children.
- The next (20th) meeting of the Prosecutors General of the SCO member states will be held in Kazakhstan in 2022.
- The salient features of the protocol include strengthening cooperation in preventing and combating the growing menace of trafficking in persons especially, women and children.
- It also calls for the continuation of the exchange of national legislation to combat the menace of trafficking in persons.
- It seeks to provide protection and assistance to victims of trafficking within their competence.
- The protocol also calls for developing cooperation between the educational organizations of the SCO member states in the field of training and advanced training of prosecutors, whose competence includes combating trafficking in persons especially, women and children.
- India’s efforts are reflected in various legal provisions to counter-trafficking provisions, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution as well as the Indian Penal Code and legislations such as the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
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11. India-Israel Joint Working Group
- India-Israel Joint Working Group (JWG) on Bilateral Defence Cooperation has agreed to form a Task Force to formulate a comprehensive Ten-Year Roadmap to identify new areas of cooperation.
- The JWG is the apex body between the Ministry of Defence of India and Israel’s Ministry of Defence to comprehensively review and guide all aspects of Bilateral Defence Cooperation.
- The two sides reviewed the progress made in Military to Military engagements including exercises and industry cooperation.
- The Co-chairs were also appraised on the progress made by the Sub Working Groups (SWG) on Defence Procurement & Production and Research & Development.
- It was also decided to form an SWG on Defence Industry Cooperation and in this regard, a Terms of Reference was signed between the two sides.
- The formation of this SWG would enable efficient utilization of bilateral resources, effective flow of technologies, and sharing industrial capabilities.
- It was also decided to schedule the Service level Staff talks in a specific time frame.
- It was agreed to hold the next JWG in India on mutually convenient dates.