Daily Current Affairs for 18th June 2022

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Banni Grassland

Why in news?

MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) has organised Desertification and Drought Day on 17th June. The event showcased presentations on various aspects of desertification such as on Initiative taken on restoration of Banni grassland, experience on Indian eco-restoration of deserts, forestry certification & achieving land degradation neutrality.

About Banni

● The Banni region emerged from the sea as a result of tectonic activities, received soils from the rivers flown from Bhuj mainland and ends in Greater Rann of Kutch.
● Soils deposited by the rivers and the wind, made the land of Banni richer enough that it could generate diverse grass species, once reported up to 40 grass species, mostly palatable with saline grass species.
● Banni grassland supports numerous animal genetic resources like Banni buffalo, Kankrej Cattle, Sheep, Goat, Camel, and horse. This grassland acts as breeding and nesting ground for more than 250 bird species, including resident, winter migratory birds.
● Pastoral lifestyle of the communities not only conserved its rich animal genetic resources but also protected the Banni grassland ecosystem.
● Banni is situated in Arid climate, with high temperature in most of the time which reach up to 48°C to 50°C during May-June and winter temperature goes down to 5°C – 8°C during December-January. Average Annual rainfall, occurring through Southwest monsoon between June to September, is very low of 317mm.

Prosopis juliflora, a non-native and invasive tree species, has encroached over half Banni, one of Asia’s largest grasslands in Gujarat. The tree is harmful to ecology; yet, local communities have over time grown dependent on it for livelihood by, for example, making charcoal.
There are several flipsides to growing this tree species:
● It depletes groundwater availability; increases soil salinity; and makes the grassland more susceptible to wildfires.
● The invasion is also a threat for habitat specialist species such as the desert fox, Houbara bustard and spiny-tailed lizard that have evolved to life in grasslands over centuries.
Over the years, the landscape of Banni has shown drastic changes. A study done by Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) in 2009 showed that there had been a steep decline in area under the grasslands of Banni. In 1989, the Banni grassland area was spread over 1,42,882 hectares which reduced to a mere 63,073 hectares in 2009. This deterioration has continued since 2009 and it is imperative for the government to intervene before the grassland ceases to exist.

WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (12th-16th June 2022)

Why in News?
The members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), for the first time in a decade, finalised a historic deal at 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12).

Outcome of WTO MC12:

What India wanted
● No extension of customs duty moratorium on electronics transmissions
What it got:
● 18-month extension of e-commerce moratorium
● Review of scope, definition, and impact of moratorium Review of scope, definition, and impact of moratorium
Agriculture, food security
What India wanted
● Permanent solution to public stockholding for food security purposes
● No exemptions for food purchases by WFP from export restrictions
● Permission for exports of food grains from public stocks on govt-to-govt basis
What it got
● No export restrictions on WFP purchases. Internal food security concerns to take precedence
● Solution to public stockholding again deferred to next ministerial
TRIPS waiver
What India wanted
● IP waiver for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics
What it got
● TRIPS waiver only on vaccine with exports up to five years
● Decision on diagnostics and therapeutics after six months


What India wanted
● Exemption from subsidy cuts for developing countries fishing within EEZs
● 25-year ban on subsidies for countries fishing in areas beyond their EEZs
What India got
● No restriction on subsidies for fishing within EEZs
● No subsidies for fishing in areas outside EEZs
● Check on illegal unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing by developed countries and China.
Inter-State Council
Why in News?
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister wrote to Prime Minister asking that at least three meetings of the Inter-State Council should be held every year to “strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism”.
What is Inter-State Council?

The Constitution of India in Article 263, provided that an Inter-State Council (ISC) may be established “if at any time it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of a Council”.

Establishment of ISC

● The constitution itself did not establish the ISC, because it was not considered necessary at the time the constitution was being framed, but kept the option for its establishment open.
● The ISC was established as a permanent body on 1990 by a presidential order on recommendation of Sarkaria Commission.
○ The Commission on Centre-State Relations under the Chairmanship of Justice R. S. Sarkaria had recommended that a permanent Inter-State Council called the Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) should be set up under Article 263. The ISC has been established pursuant to this recommendation of the commission.
Can it be dissolved?
● It cannot be dissolved and re-established.
Status of ISC
● The current status of ISC is that of a permanent constitutional body.
● Decentralisation of powers to the states as much as possible.
● More transfer of financial resources to the states.
● Arrangements for devolution in such a way that the states can fulfil their obligations.
● Advancement of loans to states should be related to as ‘the productive principle’.
● Deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the states either on their request or otherwise.
● The Inter-State Council composes of the following members:
● Prime Minister [Chairman]
● Chief Ministers of all states.
● Chief Ministers of the union territories having legislative assemblies.
● Administrators of the union territories not having legislative assemblies.
● 6 Union Cabinet Ministers, including Home Minister, to be nominated by the Prime Minister.
● Governors of the states being administered under President’s rule.
Standing Committee
● Home Minister, Chairman
● 5 Union Cabinet Ministers
● 9 Chief Ministers

Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme

Why in News?
The Union Health Ministry has directed the States and Union Territories to focus towards expanding coverage of the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PM-NDP) to all districts in all states and UTs.
About PM-NDP
● The Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme was rolled out in 2016 as part of the National Health Mission (NHM) for provision of free dialysis services to the poor.
● The programme is under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
● The Guidelines for Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme envisage provision of dialysis services under NHM in PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode.
Rationale behind the programme
● Every year about 2.2 Lakh new patients of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) get added in India resulting in additional demand for 3.4 Crore dialysis every year.
● With approximately 4950 dialysis centres, largely in the private sector in India, the demand is less than half met with existing infrastructure.
● Since every Dialysis has an additional expenditure tag of about Rs.2000, it results in a monthly expenditure for patients to the tune of Rs.3-4 Lakhs annually.
● Most families have to undertake frequent trips, and often over long distances to access dialysis services incurring heavy travel costs and loss of wages for the patient and family members accompanying the patient. This therefore leads to financial catastrophe for practically all families with such patients.
● With substantial gain in quality of life and extension of progression free survival for patients, families continue to stretch financially to make large out of pocket spends.
● It has been felt that both in terms of provision of this important life saving procedure and also for reducing impoverishment on account of out of pocket expenditure for patients, a Dialysis program is required.
Solution Strategy
There are two main types of dialysis, which are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis:
1. Hemodialysis (HD, commonly known as blood dialysis):
○ In HD, the blood is filtered through a machine that acts like an artificial kidney and is returned back into the body.
○ HD needs to be performed in a designated dialysis centre.
○ It is usually needed about 3 times per week, with each episode taking about 3-4 hours.
2. Peritoneal dialysis (PD, commonly known as water dialysis):
○ In PD, the blood is cleaned without being removed from the body.
○ The abdomen sac (lining) acts as a natural filter.
○ A solution (mainly made up of salts and sugars) is injected into the abdomen that encourages filtration such that the waste is transferred from the blood to the solution.
Public Private Partnership for Hemodialysis services
● The private partner is to provide medical human resource, dialysis machine along with Reverse Osmosis (RO) water plant infrastructure, dialyzer and consumables,
● The space, power, and water supply within District Hospitals is to be provided by the State Government.
Financial support
● Currently, under NHM 100 % of the service procedure fees for patients from below poverty line (BPL) economic group is covered.
● Non BPL patients would have the benefit of accessing the services close to the community at the district hospitals at same rates as paid by the Government for the BPL patient.
● While there exist health schemes such as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) funded by Govt of India which cover hemodialysis procedure, it is evident that due to high cost and recurring sessions required over the life time, the total cost for providing dialysis cannot be adequately covered.
● For BPL families registered under RSBY, the cost of dialysis care shall be catered through RSBY funding upto its maximum coverage.
● The additional resources required would be provided to the state under the National Health Mission.
Why in News?
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has legislated the introduction of tokenisation of card transactions, with a deadline of June 30, 2022.
What is tokenisation of debit, credit cards?
● Under tokenisation services, a unique alternate code is generated to facilitate transactions through cards.
● It is the process of substituting a 16 digit customer card number with a non-sensitive equivalent value, referred to as a token.
● This essentially means that a customer’s card information will no longer be available on any Merchant, Payment Gateway, or 3rd party that helps in the processing of digital transactions today.
● With card tokenisation, consumers no longer need to fear saving their card details.
● Cardholders will have to give an explicit consent that will be collected for tokenisation.

Why tokenized card transaction is considered to be safer
● A tokenized card transaction is considered safer as the actual card details are not shared with the merchant during transaction processing.
● For transaction tracking and reconciliation purposes, entities can store the last four digits of the card number and the card issuer’s name.
● The customer’s consent and OTP-based authentication are required for creating a token.
What is the deadline for Card tokenisation?
The deadline for credit, debit card tokenisation is June 30, 2022

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