Daily Current Affairs for 6th July 2020

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No help for the domestic helps

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

The lack of government welfare schemes or one-time monetary assistance to domestic workers has compounded their woes during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues & challenges:

  • Though the domestic workers have been hit the most now, the problem is more deep-seated.
  • The government in 2014 started working to codify and simplify 44 existing labour laws into four codes.
  • One of the codes, the Code on Wages Bill, has been cleared. But the other three codes are yet to be passed by Parliament.
  • The Code on Social Security, 2019, introduced in the Lok Sabha but not yet passed, will subsume eight laws, including the unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
  • A national policy for domestic workers, which can be a safety net, is still in its draft state.
  • A Central Government Act for the welfare of unorganised sector workers is implemented more in the breach across the country.

Way forward:

  • Unfortunately, domestic workers fall within the large informal sector where nearly 90% of Indian workers are placed. Therefore, they do not have any recourse to law for safety, payment or welfare.
  • There is a need to include all domestic workers, irrespective of the category, in the social security net.
  • While there are some legal instruments that give them a degree of protection, such as the Unorganised Social Security Act, 2008 and the Sexual Harassment against Women at Workplace Act, 2013, and some minimum wages provisions at the state level, there is no comprehensive legislation to address the sector.
  • Laws to ensure their rights such as minimum wages, regulating the number of working hours, mandating regular holidays as well as addressing physical and sexual harassment must be formalised.
  • They must be provided immediate income and livelihood support.


COVID-19 is going to result in a new normal in many ways, it presents an opportunity and challenge – to enhance the value of the work of care and domestic work, address its deeply gendered nature, and reflect on ensuring their basic rights.

China doubles down on claims on eastern Bhutan boundary

Paper: II

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News:

Days after Bhutan sent China a demarche protesting Chinese claims to the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in Eastern Bhutan, Beijing has doubled down, including Bhutan’s “Eastern sectors” to the boundary dispute between the two countries for the first time.

Key Details:

  • Beijing made this claim while objecting to a request to develop the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bhutan’s Trashigang district at an online meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • Set up in 1992, GEF is a US-based global body to finance projects in the environment sector.
  • Bhutan objected to the Chinese claim, and the GEF council passed the project for funding. The GEF, according to sources, rejected the Chinese claim and approved the project.
  • This has caused a boundary dispute between the two countries for the first time.
  • The Sakteng sanctuary has in the past, too, received such grants, including in 2018-2019 for a project on preventing soil erosion, without any objection from China.


  • Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement, has said “The boundary between China and Bhutan has never been delimited. There have been disputes over the eastern, central and western sectors for a long time”.

Boundary dispute between China and Bhutan:

  • So far, the talks have been about three specific areas, including Jakarlung and Pasamlung in the north, and the Chumbi Valley, where Doklam is situated, in west Bhutan.
  • According to written records, there has been no mention of eastern Bhutan, or Trashigang Dzongkhag (where Sakteng is based, that borders Arunachal Pradesh) in 24 previous rounds of boundary negotiations held between the two countries, between 1984 and 2016.
  • The negotiations have not been held since the Doklam stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in 2017.

FAO issues locust alert for India

Why in News:

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that India, which is tackling the worst locust attack in 26 years, should remain on “high alert” during the next four weeks.

Key Details:

  • Rajasthan is the most affected State in the country.
  • The other affected states are Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Bihar.
  • The Indian government has stepped up efforts and is using equipment such as drones and Bell helicopters to control the menace.

Locust Swarms:

  • Locust is an omnivorous and migratory pest and has the ability to fly hundreds of kilometres collectively.
  • It is a trans-border pest and attacks the crop in large swarms.
  • Found in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, they inhabit some 60 countries and can cover one-fifth of the Earth’s land surface.
  • Desert locust plagues may threaten the economic livelihood of one-tenth of the world’s human population.
  • Swarms of locusts in the desert come to India from Africa/Gulf/South West Asia during the summer monsoon season and go back towards Iran, Gulf & African countries for spring breeding.
  • In India, more than 2 lakh square kilometres of area comes under Scheduled Desert Area.
  • Pink immature adults fly high and cover long distances during day hours from one place to another along with the westerly winds coming from the Pakistan side.
  • Most of these pink immature adults settle on the trees during night and mostly fly during day.
  • The immature locust is very active and their mobility makes it difficult to control the swarm at one location and it takes 4 to 5 days of control at different locations to control a particular locust swarm.

Locust Warning Organisation (LWO):

  • The Union Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO) is headquartered in Jodhpur.
  • LWO said that the locusts that came in 2019, after a gap of 26 years, were mature and had affected 12 districts of the State.

Issue compulsory licences for generic Remdesivir: CPI(M)

Why in News:

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has said that the government should issue compulsory licences for the manufacture of a generic version of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients.

Key Details:

  • ‘Gilead Sciences’ anti-viral drug Remdesivir has shown efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients.
  • The statement said while the price of the drug was ₹2.25 lakh or $3,000 in the U.S., Indian companies were in talks for manufacturing under a Gilead’s licence for sale at ₹30,000-₹35,000.

The Orphan Drug Act:

  • In the U.S., under the Orphan Drug Act, 1983, companies are provided incentives to develop therapies, or orphan drugs, for rare diseases.
  • The government grants economically advantageous conditions to creating and selling relevant drugs.
  • The Act allows seven years of market exclusivity and financial incentivesto innovators of these drugs.
  • Privileges under the Act may be conferred to companies for drugs to treat a disease that affect less than 200,000 people in the U.S., or for a disease that affects more than 200,000 people but for which there is no hope of recouping R&D costs.


  • The Food and Drug Administration agency of the U.S. has granted Gilead Sciences orphan drug status for its antiviral drug, Remdesivir.
  • Remdesivir was originally developed to treat Ebola.
  • The drug is now being tested for treating COVID-19.
  • Gilead has recently sought that orphan drug status be rescinded for its antiviral drug, Remdesivir.

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