GS PAPER I NEWS
International forum for economic cooperation
Why in News
- External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar and his counterparts from Israel, US and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have agreed to create a forum for economic cooperation in a meeting.
- Discussed the possibility of joint infrastructure projects in the areas of transport, technology, maritime security and economy and trade during the meeting.
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is currently on a five-day visit to Israel.
- He was accompanied by Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in the meeting held via digital medium on 18 October 2021.
- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the meeting digitally. The four leaders discussed issues of common concern in the region.
- The ministers decided to create an international forum for economic cooperation.
- The four ministers discussed possibilities for joint infrastructure projects and additional joint projects in the fields of transport, technology, maritime security and economy and trade.
- India, Israel, the US and the UAE have decided to set up an international forum for economic cooperation on the lines of the Quad (QUAD).
- The purpose of the new forum is to focus on other areas including infrastructure. The virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries on a platform on the lines of the Quad will be held in the coming months.
- The international forum for economic cooperation among the four countries will focus on infrastructure, digital infrastructure, transport, maritime security and will also appoint senior officials for the joint grouping.
- meeting of the four foreign ministers
- For India, the meeting of the four foreign ministers will prove to be a turning point for policy in West Asia. India’s policy on Central Asia will now move away from bilateral relations to an integrated regional one.
- The new forum between the four countries can be seen as the Indo-Abrahamic Treaty between India, Israel and the UAE.
- The new arrangement will also help India in handling the growing influence of China in Central Asia.
GS PAPER II
Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Package
Why in News
- The current term of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) policy is expiring on 20 October 2021.
- The COVID-19 pandemic is still not over and death of health workers on COVID duty is still being recorded in many States/UTs, so the insurance policy will be valid for a period of 180 days from October 21, 2021. and has been extended.
- Continuing to provide protective cover to the dependents of health workers deputed to take care of COVID-19 patients. Till date, 1351 claims have been paid under the scheme.
- Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19 was launched on 30 March 2020 to provide personal accident cover of Rs 50 lakh to 22.12 lakh healthcare workers.
- These health workers also include community health workers and private health workers who are taking care of COVID-19 patients, have been in direct contact and may also be at risk of getting affected.
- In such a situation, due to this unprecedented situation, private hospital staff / retired / volunteer / local urban body / contract / daily wage / ad-hoc / outsourced staff by states / central hospitals / autonomous hospitals of central-state and union territories, AIIMS and national Institutions of Importance (INIs)/Hospitals of Central Ministries specially designed for the care of COVID-19 patients have also been covered under PMGKP.
- A letter has been sent on 20 October 2021 to Additional Chief Secretaries (Health), Principal Secretaries (Health), Secretaries (Health) of all States and Union Territories to give wide publicity among health workers.
GS PAPER III
Why in News
- In a historic achievement, the critical mark of 100 crores for the dose of Kovid-19 vaccination has been crossed in the country.
- India has already achieved the title of the country that has given the highest dose of corona vaccine after China. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself reached RML Hospital to join this achievement.
- India has achieved the target of 100 crore Kovid Vaccination Drive in 276 days.
- If we look at the daily average, then it was close to 36.23 lakh vaccine doses. But in the last about 50 days only 44 crore doses have been given.
- It is also very close to the government’s target of giving one crore vaccine doses every day. However, as Saturday and Sunday are holidays, the target seems a bit far away.
- The rapid pace of dosing of corona vaccine from August can be gauged from the fact that it took about 202 days for India to reach the target of 500 million covid vaccinations, but the remaining 500 million vaccines were applied in just 76 days.
- India touched the threshold of 50 crore vaccinations on 6 August.
- The rate of infection recovery in India has increased to 98.15 percent. The current rate of infection recovery is at its highest level since March 2020.
- Vaccination was started in India on 16 January.
- Then Covishield and Covaccine were approved under emergency use.
- According to the CoWIN app, out of 100 crores, 87.7 per cent is owned by Covishield, while 11.4 per cent for Covaxin. While the number of people taking Sputnik vaccine has been around 0.5 per cent.
GS PAPER III
Air Quality Management Commission (CAQM)
- Why in News
- As dust from construction and demolition (C&D) sites is a major permanent source of air pollution, the Air Quality Management Commission (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areas is actively involved in GNCTD and Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (UP). ) is working with State Governments for strict compliance of dust control measures at C&D sites.
- Following the commission’s instructions, dedicated teams were deployed to inspect the construction and demolition sites in the states.
- As per the reports received and compiled by the Commission from the states of Delhi and NCR, intensive campaign is being conducted regularly by the concerned agencies by forming several teams.
- These teams have so far carried out surprise checks and inspections at more than 6,596 C&D sites, out of which 963 sites have been identified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for various C&D wastes. The management was found not to be in conformity with the rules and dust prevention measures.
- Besides, around Rs 3.07 crore has also been recovered as Environment Compensation (EC) charges against the agencies found guilty in the investigation, besides issuing stoppage orders at 52 locations.
- During 1st to 15th October, a total of 112 teams including 37 in Delhi, 30 in Haryana, 20 in Rajasthan and 25 in 8 NCR districts of UP constituted and deployed to conduct on-field surprise inspections of C&D sites She had gone
- During this period, 1268 sites were inspected. These include 1017 C&D sites in Delhi, 98 in Haryana, 89 in NCR districts of Rajasthan and 64 in NCR region of Uttar Pradesh.
- In Delhi, out of total 1017 sites inspected, 712 sites were found to be complying with dust control measures while 305 sites were not complying with the norms.
- All the 98 C&D sites inspected in Haryana were found to be in compliance with the statutes. Out of 89 C&D sites inspected in Rajasthan, 86 sites were found to be in compliance with the norms.
- In 8 NCR districts of Uttar Pradesh, only 5 sites were not following the prescribed dust control measures while the remaining 59 sites were following the prescribed norms.
- Air Quality Management Commission (CAQM) along with Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh states to undertake dust control measures at various C&D sites. Works to ensure proper compliance and submit fortnightly reports to the Commission.
- This includes conducting surprise inspections and taking strict action against those who violate the rules. The Commission will continuously monitor the progress in this regard to reduce dust from C&D sites.
- In order to reduce the dust emanating from C&D sites, the Commission has prescribed to the officials of NCR States and Delhi the violators of dust control norms at C&D sites as well as during transportation of C&D waste material there. Statutory instructions were also issued to take strict action including levy and collection of Environment Compensation (EC) on vehicles found violating dust control norms.
- During field inspection, a total of 60 vehicles were found violating the prescribed dust control norms and a total of Rs.81, 20,000 was collected as EC charges from C&D sites and vehicles not complying with the norms during this fortnight.
- C&D activities release huge amount of dust which contributes significantly to PM2.5 and PM10 thereby adversely affecting air quality.
- To tackle the problem of dust arising out of construction, remodeling, repair and demolition, such activities need to be strictly monitored and inspected for compliance of various dust control measures on regular basis.