ASPIRANTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY – 15 FEB 2022

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

  • Why has Andhra Pradesh government has banned a 100-year-old play named ‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’

GS Paper 2:

  • India-Australia Interim Trade Agreement
  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0

GS Paper 3:

  • JIO Platforms to Provide Satellite Broadband Services

GS PAPER -1

Why has Andhra Pradesh government has banned a 100-year-old play named ‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’:

Context:

       The Andhra Pradesh government has banned a 100-year-old play named ‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’.

What is ‘Chintamani Padya Natakam’?

       The play was written in 1920 by playwright Kallakuri Narayana Rao, who was also a social reformer.

  • The play is about Chintamani, a courtesan and a devotee of Lord Krishna, who finds salvation by singing bhajans.
  • She is courted by Subbi Shetty, a businessman from the Arya Vysya community, who loses his wealth and family due to his attraction to Chintamani.
  • The play is exhibited across the state, mainly in rural areas, during festivals and fairs.

 Why is there a controversy surrounding it?

  • The original play had a social message, but over the years, it has been modified purely for entertainment.
  • Much of the play sees central character Subbi Shetty made fun of, especially for losing all his wealth to his vices.
  • Also, the content and dialogues are offensive, and the Central character is always portrayed as a short and dark-coloured person.

Due to the way Shetty’s character is portrayed, the entire community is stigmatised.

 Why has it been banned?

           The Arya Vysya community has been petitioning governments for several years to ban the play, saying it portrays them in a negative light.

 Could the ban have been avoided?

        The state government explored the possibility of taking out Shetty’s character from the play instead of putting a blanket ban on it, but found him to be a central character.

GS PAPER - 2

India-Australia Interim Trade Agreement:

Why in News

           Recently, India and Australia have announced that they are set to conclude an Interim Trade Agreement in March 2022 and a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) 12-18 months thereafter.

The agreement will cover “most areas of interest for both countries” including goods, services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and customs procedures.

  • Earlier, India, Japan and Australia have formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI).

What is an Interim Trade Agreement?

  • An interim or early harvest trade agreement is used to liberalise tariffs on the trade of certain goods between two countries or trading blocs before a comprehensive FTA (Free Trade Agreement) is concluded.
  • Government’s emphasis on interim agreements may be tactical so that a deal may be achieved with minimum commitments and would allow for contentious issues to be resolved later.
  • The problem, though, is that these early harvest schemes potentially target the low-hanging fruits, leaving the tougher goods and services for later.
  • This strategy can lead to significant delays in wrapping up the mode broad-based FTAs, which could potentially lead to impediments.
  • India had concluded an early harvest agreement with Thailand in 2004 but has not been able to conclude a comprehensive FTA with the country.
  • India also has a trade agreement with Sri Lanka dealing with goods but was not able to conclude an agreement on services and investments.
  • Early harvest agreements that do not graduate into full-scale FTAs are exposed to legal challenges from other countries that are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).It is often beneficial to negotiate the entire deal together, as an early harvest deal may reduce the incentive for one side to work towards a full FTA.

What are Free Trade Agreements?

  • It is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
  • Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.
  • The concept of free trade is the opposite of trade protectionism or economic isolationism.
  • FTAs can be categorised as Preferential Trade Agreement, CECA , Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

What is India’s Current Trade Relation with Australia?

  • Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at about USD 12.5 billion in Financial Year (FY) 21 and has already surpassed USD 17.7 billion in the first 10 months of FY22.
  • India has imported merchandise worth about USD 12.1 billion from Australia in the first 10 months of the fiscal and has exported merchandise worth USD 5.6 billion in the same period.
  • Key imports from Australia include coal, gold and Liquified Natural gas while key exports to the country from India include diesel, petrol and gems and jewellery.

What Opportunities does the Agreement Brings?

  • The agreement with Australia is set to bring opportunities across sectors including mining, pharmaceuticals, health, education, renewables, railways, gems and jewellery, tourism, defence and textiles.
  • India is also likely to seek easier visa access for both students and professionals visiting Australia.
  • Australia is likely to seek market access for wines and agricultural products which are not produced on a large scale in India.
  • Both countries are also looking at mutual recognition of educational qualifications to boost the number of Indian students seeking education in Australia and vice versa and boost tourism in both countries.
  • India and Australia have also signed an MoU to boost tourism between the two countries.
  • The agreement would lead to deeper cooperation between the two countries in critical minerals and rare earth elements which are critical to future industries including renewable energy and electric vehicles.
  • As Australia has plentiful supplies of rare earths and critical minerals in but it needs places for them to be processed.

What is QUAD’s Impact on Trade Relations between India and Australia?

  • India and Australia are both members of the QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) along with the US and Japan.
  • Recently, the fourth meeting of the foreign ministers of the QUAD grouping (India, the US, Australia and Japan) was held in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Both countries have noted that the coalition has given impetus to increasing trade relations between all members of the QUAD.
  • Australia noted that it already had FTAs with both the US and Japan and that all four countries could start building a framework for economic cooperation within the countries of the QUAD after they announced a deal with India.

What Other Free Trade Agreements is India Currently Negotiating?

  • India is currently in the process of negotiating FTAs with the UAE, the UK , Canada, the European union  and Isral besides Australia.
  • India is also looking to complete an early harvest agreement with the UAE and the UK in the first half of 2022.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0:

Why in News?

        Recently, the Ministry of Health virtually launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0.

  • India is implementing the largest immunisation programme globally where it annually covers more than three crore pregnant women and 2.6 crore children through the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

What is IMI 4.0?

  • It will ensure that Routine Immunization (RI) services reach unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children and pregnant women.
  • Children up to two years will be covered in this drive.
  • While the pace of routine immunisation has slowed down due to Covid-19 pandemic, IMI 4.0 will immensely contribute in filling the gaps and make lasting gains towards universal immunisation.
  • Three rounds of IMI 4.0 will be conducted in 416 districts, including 75 districts identified for Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav across 33 States/UTs.
  • These districts have been identified based on vaccination coverage as per the latest  National Family Health Survey-5 report, Health Management Information System (HMIS) data and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.

What is the Universal Immunisation Programme?

  • The Immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 as ‘Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • In 1985, the Programme was modified as ‘Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)’. UIP prevents mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • But in the past, it was seen that the increase in immunization coverage had slowed down and it increased at the rate of 1% per year between 2009 and 2013.
  • To accelerate the coverage, Mission Indradhanush was envisaged and implemented since 2015 to rapidly increase the full immunization coverage to 90%.

What is Mission Indradhanush (MI)?

  • It was launched to fully immunize more than 89 lakh children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated under UIP.
  • It provides vaccination against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) i.e. diphtheria, Whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae type B infections, Japanese encephalitis (JE), rotavirus vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR).
  • However, vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenzae type B is being provided in selected districts of the country.
  • Mission Indradhansuh was also identified as one of the flagship schemes under Gram Swaraj Abhiyan and Extended Gram Swaraj Abhiyan.

What is Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)?

  • It was launched in October 2017.
  • Under IMI, greater focus was given on urban areas which were one of the gaps of Mission Indradhanush.
  • It focused to improve immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90% by December 2018 instead of 2020.

What is Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0?

  • It was a nationwide immunisation drive to mark the 25 years of Pulse polio programme (2019-20).
  • It had targets of full immunization coverage in 272 districts spread over 27 States.
  • It aimed to achieve at least 90% pan-India immunisation coverage by 2022.

What is Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0?

  • IMI 3.0 was launched in 2021.
  • Focus of the IMI 3.0 was the children and pregnant women who had missed their vaccine doses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Beneficiaries from migration areas and hard to reach areas were targeted as they might have missed their vaccine doses during Covid-19.

What are the Achievements So Far?

  • As of April 2021, during the various phases of Mission Indradhanush, a total of 3.86 crore children and 96.8 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated.
  • The first two phases of Mission Indradhanush resulted in 6.7% increase in full immunisation coverage in a year.
  • A survey (IMI- CES) carried out in 190 districts covered in Intensified Mission Indradhanush (5th Phase of Mission Indradhanush) shows 18.5% points increase in full immunisation coverage as compared to National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4.
  • The Full Immunisation Coverage among children aged 12-23 months of age has increased from 62% (NFHS-4) to 76.4%(NFHS-5).

GS PAPER - 3

JIO Platforms to Provide Satellite Broadband Services:

Context:

     Jio has formed a joint-venture with Luxembourg-based SES to deliver satellite broadband services across India.

 How?

       The joint venture will use multi-orbit space networks that is a combination of GEO (geostationary equatorial orbit) and MEO (medium earth orbit) satellite constellations capable of delivering multi-gigabit links and capacity to enterprises, mobile backhaul and retail customers across the length and breadth of India and neighbouring regions.

 How is this different from what Star link or One Web offer?

      SES primarily has satellites in the GEO and the MEO, while those of Elon Musk-led Star link and Bharti Group’s One Web are in low earth orbit (LEO).

  • While GEO satellites are positioned at an altitude of 36,000 km, MEO and LEO are lower at altitudes of 5,000-20,000km and 500-1,200 km,
  • The altitude of the satellite is directly proportional to the area of earth that it covers. Therefore, the higher a satellite is positioned, the larger an area it covers.

Differences between GEO, MEO and LEO satellites:

Coverage: GEO satellites provide a larger coverage and therefore only three satellites can cover the whole earth.

  • Hundreds of LEO satellites are needed to provide coverage to a larger area.

Cost: LEO satellites are smaller and are cheaper to launch than GEOs or MEOs.

  • But, LEO based satellites have risks, for example the recent Starlink incident. SpaceX’s satellites fell out of orbit as a result of the solar flare.

 Criticisms of LEO satellites:

  • The balance of power has shifted from countries to companies since most of these are private companies run projects. As a result, there are questions related to who regulates these companies, especially given the myriad of nations that contribute to individual projects.
  • Complicated regulatory framework: Stakeholders in these companies are from various countries. Thus it becomes challenging to receive requisite licences to operate in each country.
  • Satellites can sometimes be seen in the night skies which creates difficulties for astronomers as the satellites reflect sunlight to earth, leaving streaks across images.
  • Satellites travelling at a lower orbit can also interrupt the frequency of those orbiting above them.
  • Those objects, colloquially referred to as ‘space junk,’ have the potential to damage spacecraft or collide with other satellites.

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