Why in news?
Prime Minister participates in Dwishatabdi(200) Mahotsav of Mumbai Samachar, a newspaper which has been published continuously for 200 years.
About Mumbai Samachar
● The printing of Mumbai Samachar, then called Bombay Samachar, as a weekly was started on July 1, 1822, by Fardunjee Marzbanji, a Parsi scholar. It became a daily in 1832. The Gujarati newspaper has been published continuously for 200 years.
● A weekly till 1832, a bi-weekly till 1855 and a daily since then, it continued to grow and has gone on to become one of Western India’s premier newspapers, well read by a large segment of Gujarati-speaking people both in India and abroad.
● The founder, a Parsi scholar and priest by the name of Fardoonji Murazban, was a pioneer not only of journalism in Western India but of all Gujarati printed literature. He founded the first native press in 1812 and in 1814 brought out a Gujarati Calendar, fully 6 years before the first Bengali calendar was printed and published in Calcutta. He then went on to bring out his Newspaper, the Bombay Samachar, in 1822.
● Respected by both the British and Indian Government for its fair, frank, objective and critical analysis of events, the Mumbai Samachar played a very important role during India’s struggle for independence being often quoted by freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and others.
● From its inception the editorial policy was to objectively report events in a fair and honest manner and not to sensationalize news, sobriety and independence of views being a characteristic which still stands.
● Another notable feature of this paper which holds good to this day is the policy to allow numerous small advertisers to advertise their products on the front page rather than allow only one advertiser to occupy what is commonly referred to as solus position.
● The paper passed through various hands before coming into the hands of the Cama Family. It has since grown and expanded and today can proudly lay claim to having the most modern technology available in the publishing field. Its daily print run in four colour is effortlessly carried out on full colour high speed offset presses incorporating state of the art features.
Way Finding Application
Why in news?
Cabinet approves Agreement between India and United Nations on a ‘Way Finding Application’ to be used in the Palais des Nations, United Nations Office at Geneva.
About United Nations
● The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. It is currently made up of 193 Member States. India is a founding member of the United Nations. The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), consisting of five buildings and 21 floors, is housed at the historic Palais des Nations. Large number of delegates, members of civil society and general public visit UNOG to participate in various meetings and conventions.
● Keeping in view the complexity of buildings and huge participation, there was a requirement of a navigational application which can help the visitors and other delegates in finding their way inside the premises while adhering to all security perspectives.
● While the Global Positioning System (GPS) based Apps function in open space, a more precise in-building navigational App will assist the visitors in locating the room and offices.
● The project of development of ‘Way Finding Application’ has been conceptualized as donation from the Government of India to the UN on the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2020. The estimated financial implication for development deployment and maintenance of the App is $ 2 Million.
● The project consists of development, deployment and maintenance of a software-based ‘Way Finding Application’ to facilitate navigation in the Palais des Nations premises of UNLG.
● The application will enable users to find their way from point to point within the 21 floors spread across five buildings of UNOG.
● The App will work on Android and iOS devices with an internet connection.
● The development of the App has been entrusted to Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), an autonomous telecom Research & Development centre of Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India.
● The project will be a significant contribution from the Government of India to the UN.
● The project will not only highlight the technical capabilities of India but also enhance the prestige of the country at the UN level platform.
● The App will make India’s presence felt in the UN and showcase its soft power in the form of strong software technology expertise – a ‘Made in India’ App in the mobiles of people who come from across the globe.
The Agnipath scheme
Why in News? The government unveiled its new Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services.
What is the Agnipath scheme?
● Under the new Tour of Duty system, named “Agnipath”, soldiers or “Agniveer” will be recruited for a period of four years at the end of which they will get over Rs 10 lakh tax-free and certificates or diplomas for their service.
● Agniveers will be selected through an online centralised system.
● Educational qualification for Agniveers will be the same as the criteria for regular positions in the force.
● The government aims to recruit about 45,000-50,000 personnel below officer rank in the three services every year through a biannual exercise with a six-month gap.
● At the end of their tenure, 25 percent of these recruits will be inducted back into the services and go on to serve for a full 15 years in non-officer ranks. The remaining will exit the services with a package between ₹ 11 lakh – ₹ 12 lakh, but they will not be eligible for pension benefits.
● Candidates between the ages of 17-and-a-half years and 21 years will be eligible to apply, and recruitment will be conducted under existing qualification criteria.
● 30 percent of their salary will be held back as savings, and an equal amount contributed by the Government per month, under the Seva Nidhi scheme.
● Provisions have been made for loss of life or disability due to an injury on duty.
● The initiative will open up regular intake and availability of of youthful, patriotic, physically fit and highly motivated youth who wish to serve the Nation .
● The scheme will cut the annual revenue and pension bill which accounts for half of the annual defence budget of ₹ 5.2-lakh crore which has been a major concern for governments for many years.
● The move will make the permanent force levels much leaner for the over 13-lakh strong armed forces in the country.
● Detrimental to Nepal-Indian relations: The Indian Army soldiers of Nepalese domicile are a major function of Nepalese economy by way of their pay and pension. They are also vital ambassadors of India down in the villages where they live. This is one reason why the Chinese have not been able to make much inroads into the Nepalese society. To cut down their intake by all class recruitment and then by reducing the years of service, a major change in Nepal-India relations could occur.
● A ‘Kindergarten Army’: The soldiers recruited will be between 17.5 and 21 years of age.
● Short tenure of the service: The soldiers will be recruited for 4 years and only 25% will be commissioned permanently. What about those who want to serve longer?
Other Concerns and counter Arguments
● Shorter duration service could compromise on training, morale etc
○ Israeli army has service of 30 months and 22 months for men and women respectively, yet enjoys a reputation for being among the best in the world.
○ France has short duration contracts of between 1 and 10 year.
● Fears that the scheme will result in demobilised young soldiers posing a violent threat to society are misplaced
○ Demobilised soldiers in their 30s regularly leave the army at the end of the mandated color service and do not pose a threat to society.
● Increase the service period.
● Special attention must be provided to their training.
● Make the retention of those keen to serve longer, at least 50 per cent.
Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)
Why in News?
The Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2020-21 released by the government.
● The unemployment rate saw a decrease of 0.6% and fell to 4.2% in 2020-21, compared with 4.8% in 2019-20.
● Only 4.2% of adults who looked for jobs could not get any work in rural and urban areas of the country in 2020-21.
● Rural areas recorded an unemployment rate of 3.3% and urban areas recorded an unemployment rate of 6.7%.
● The percentage of persons in the labour force (working or seeking work or available for work) in the population was 41.6% during 2020-21. It was 40.1% in the previous year.
● The Worker population ratio (WPR) was 39.8%, an increase from 38.2% of the previous year.
○ WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.
What is the Periodic Labour Force Survey?
● Considering the importance of the availability of labour force data at more frequent time intervals, the NSO launched the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in April 2017.
● The objective of PLFS is primarily two fold:
○ To estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators (viz. Worker Population Ratio, Labour Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Rate) in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the CWS.
○ To estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both usual Status and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually.
Blue Flag tag
Why in News?
Tami Nadu Tourism Minister has said that tourism development corporation (TTDC) has plans to develop the Muthukuda beach in Pudukkottai and the Muthupettai beach in Tiruvarur on the lines of the Kovalam beach in Chennai, which has the Blue Flag certification, an international tag given by Foundation for Environmental Education.
What is Blue Flag tag?
● The Blue Flag tag or Blue Flag certification is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels.
● It is awarded to beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators.
● The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education or FEE.
● It is awarded annually to beaches and marinas in FEE member countries.
● The Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches in the world.
48 countries currently participate in the program, and over 5,000 beaches, marinas, and boats have this certification.
How many beaches in India have this tag?
Currently 10 beaches in India have received the Blue Flag Tag including the two latest addition .
BLUE FLAG ADVANTAGES
● A better quality of environment which gives visitors to the beaches, marinas and boats a superior experience, thereby increasing their profile.
● Protection of the local environment from the destabilising effects of unmanaged practices.
● An opportunity for the region to capitalise on this reputation for environmental protection and market itself as such a destination.
● A higher standard of environment for local people and the associated health benefits.
● A Help towards achieving SDGs
Why in News?
The Union Cabinet authorised a proposal from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to hold a spectrum auction, in which successful bidders will be assigned spectrum to provide 5G services to the general public and businesses.
What is 5G?
● The 5th generation mobile network is abbreviated as 5G.
● It’s made to connect almost everyone and everything, including machines, objects, and devices.
● The goal of 5G wireless technology is to provide better performance and efficiency, as well as to enable new user experiences and link new sectors.
Faster than 4G?
● 5G technology is intended to provide a better user experience in terms of data download rates (estimated to be 10 times faster than 4G), up to three times greater spectrum efficiency, and super low latency.
● Agriculture, education, health, transportation, traffic management, smart cities, smart homes, and a variety of other IOT (Internet of Things) applications are just a few examples.
Is it safe?
● The DoT has established exposure levels for the Radio Frequency Field that are ten times stricter than the safe limits established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
● The DoT has a well-structured framework in place to ensure that TSPs comply with the required standards.
● 5G technology and COVID-19: No connection – The government has taken note of various false posts on social media platforms claiming that the testing of 5G mobile towers caused the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The DoT issued a press release that these messages are erroneous and incorrect.
5G and global economy
● With $13.1 trillion in global economic output, 5G is driving global growth.
● It has resulted in the creation of $22.8 million new jobs.
● According to a study conducted by Qualcomm, the entire economic impact of 5G will most likely be realised over the world by 2035, supporting a wide range of businesses and potentially enabling up to $13.1 trillion in products and services.
Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP)
Why in News?
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued a set of guidelines on the interplay between two key schemes meant for minimising litigation–the Vivad se Vishwas direct tax dispute settlement scheme and the mutual agreement procedure (MAP) that offers relief to multinational companies.
About Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP)
● Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP) is an alternate tax dispute resolution mechanism available to the taxpayers under the DTAAs for resolving disputes giving rise to double taxation or taxation not in accordance with DTAAs.
● MAP can help in relieving double taxation either fully or partially.
● Almost all DTAAs entered into by India have the MAP Article and
● it provides an additional dispute resolution mechanism to taxpayers in addition to those available under the domestic laws of India.
● MAP cases involve cross-border double taxation that could either be juridical double taxation (same income taxed twice in the hands of the same entity in two different countries) or economic double taxation (same income taxed in the hands of two separate entities, who are Associated Enterprises, in two different countries).
Timeframe for Resolving and Implementing MAP cases
● India is committed to endeavour to resolve MAP cases within an average timeframe of 24 months.
● The period of 24 months is to be computed from the “Start Date” of a MAP case.