Air pollution cuts India’s average life expectancy
Paper 3 – Environment
Why Should You Know?
• according to a new analysis by the University of Chicago. Indians, on average, are losing about five years.
• The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC)’s Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), in its India factsheet released this month, noted that these figures were “relative to what (the life expectancy) would be if the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline regarding fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) of 5 microgram per cubic metre (µg/m3) was met.”
• In comparison, 1.8 years of life are lost due to child and maternal malnutrition, while smoking robs nearly two years of life expectancy in India.
• The report noted that the country’s entire population — all 1.3 billion — breathe air with particulate pollution level well above the WHO guideline. Also, more than 63 per cent breathe air worse than the national air quality standard of 40 µg/m3.
• Nearly 40 per cent of India’s population residing in the Indo-Gangetic plains — which includes Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — are set to lose some 7.6 years of life expectancy. Those in Lucknow will lose 9.5 years if current pollution levels persist, the report said.
• If the WHO guidelines are met in the 10 most populous states of the country, life expectancy can improve significantly, the report noted:
US to launch West Asia Quad with India
Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
• The US has said it will launch a new four-nation dialogue with India, Israel and the United Arab Emirates during President Joe Biden’s visit to the region next month.
• It will be called I2U2 — for India and Israel whose names begin with the letter ‘I’ and the US and the UAE that begin with the letter ‘U’ — and will be focussed on West Asia.
• It will be launched during Biden’s visit to Israel, his first leg of his maiden trip as President to West Asia from July 13 to 16. He will also visit West Bank, home to the Palestinian authority, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet around a dozen regional leaders.
• The new initiative will be launched in a virtual call Biden will hold with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, and UAE’s President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
• They will discuss security and “areas of cooperation across hemispheres where UAE and Israel serve as important innovation hubs”. It is worth mentioning that at now no other details are available of this new initiative, its goals and reach.
• Thus “I2U2” is an entirely new grouping of partners that includes the United States, Israel, India and the UAE. It is focused on expanding economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and coordination on other vital shared interests.
•Uttar Pradesh will gain more than eight years on its life expectancy
•Bihar will gain more than seven years
•West Bengal will gain nearly six years
•Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh will gain around five years
•Gujarat will gain a little over three years
•Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will gain some two years
• The report noted that – Since 1998, average annual particulate pollution has increased by 61.4 per cent, leading to a further reduction in average life expectancy of 2.1 years. Since 2013, about 44 per cent of the world’s increase in pollution has come from India.
• According to the AQLI, a permanent, nationwide reduction of 25 per cent, the midpoint of NCAP’s target range, would increase India’s average national life expectancy by 1.4 years and by 2.6 years for residents of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
• India is among the most polluted countries in the world, second only to Bangladesh which is set to lose nearly seven years of life expectancy due to air pollution. Nepal (4.1 years), Pakistan (3.8 years) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (2.9 years) are the others on the list.
• The report also found global average life expectancy comes down by 2.2 years due to air pollution. This equates to more than three times that of alcohol use and unsafe water, six times that of HIV/AIDS and 89 times that of conflict and terrorism.
• “Even as economies stalled across the world, global pollution remained flat during the first year of the pandemic, underscoring that pollution is a stubborn problem solved only by strong policies,” the report said.
• It is worth mentioning that The air pollution problem has become so bad that it can no longer be ignored. So, in 2019 the government launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which set a non-binding goal to reduce particulate pollution by 20 to 30 per cent as compared to the 2017 levels, by 2024. If these targets are met, health can improve remarkably.
• I2U2 was inaugurated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in October 2021 and the virtual summit is a follow on “from that initial touch point”.
• It is worth mentioning that since coming into office in January 2021, Biden has launched several multilateral dialogues and initiatives such as a three-nation group with Australia and the United Kingdom called AUKUS and a Quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan; and deepened and strengthened existing platforms such as the Quad with India, Australia and Japan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. He has also returned the US to several world bodies that it had left under former President Donald Trump.
About Joe Biden’s visit –
• The July 13-16 visit will be Biden’s first to a region considered one of the most volatile in the world. It is expected to reinforce the US’s “iron-clad commitment” to Israel’s security and prosperity and continue the process of its integration into the region under the Abraham Accords brokered by Trump between Israel on the one hand and the UAE and Bahrain on the other in 2020; an agreement with Morocco followed.
• Biden will also meet with Palestinian leaders in West Bank, recommitting US to a two-state solution that had been somewhat diluted or abandoned under Trump.
• The American President will wrap up his West Asia tour in Jeddah, where he is also expected to attend the summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan (known as the GCC+3). He is expected to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts.
The Financial Action Task Force and its grey list
Paper 3 – Economics
Why Should You Know?
• The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is expected to decide whether to take Pakistan off the ‘grey’ list at the end of its ongoing plenary session in Berlin.
• The four-day FATF plenary will close on June 17.
• It is noteworthy that Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list continuously since June 2018, working to comply with the requirements of the watchdog to combat money laundering and terror financing.
What is the FATF?
• The FATF is an inter-governmental body that sets international standards seeking to prevent international financial crimes that aid terrorism.
• It is a policymaking body that works to generate political will in national jurisdictions for legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
• The FATF was established in July 1989 by a G-7 Summit in Paris, initially to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering. After the 9/11 attacks, the FATF in October 2001 expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, and in April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
• The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and two regional organisations (European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council), representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
• India has been a member of the FATF since 2010. It is also a member of its regional partners, the Asia Pacific Group (APG) and the Eurasian Group (EAG).
What is the grey list?
• Grey listing means FATF has placed a country under increased monitoring to check its progress on measures against money laundering and terrorism financing. The “grey list” is also known as the “increased monitoring list”.
• To be pulled out of the grey list, a country has to fulfill the tasks recommended by the FATF, for instance, confiscating properties of individuals associated with terrorist groups. If the FATF is satisfied with the progress, it removes the country from the list.
• As of March 2022, there are 23 countries on the FATF’s increased monitoring list — officially referred to as “jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies” — that includes Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Myanmar, Philippines, South Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen.
• In essence, in the assessment of the FATF, all these countries have failed to prevent international money laundering and terrorist financing, and are, therefore, on a global watchlist.
• The FATF most recently took Zimbabwe, and before that Botswana and Mauritius, off the grey list. “Zimbabwe has strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and addressed related technical deficiencies to meet the commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF identified in October 2019,” the FATF said.
• AML/CFT refers to “Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism”.
About Pakistan listing –
• In the case of Pakistan, it first entered the list in 2008, left it, and then was on it from 2012 to 2015. Since 2018, it has not left the list.
• Pakistan’s grey-listing by the FATF from 2008 to 2019 may have resulted in a cumulative GDP loss of USD 38 billion as per a working paper by Tabadlab, an Islamad-based advisory firm.
• This is because, although being added to the grey list does not imply any economic sanctions (unlike the black list), it signals to the global financial and banking system about increased risks in transactions with the country in question, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit.
• Also, given that major financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank are affiliated with FATF as observers, a grey-listed country “faces complications in accessing international lending instruments.”
• the Tabadlab paper said. One instance is of a USD 6 billion IMF loan contract from July 2019 that emphasised the need for Pakistan to comply with the FATF’s action.
• Pakistan’s economy is in poor shape, and it is staring at low reserves of foreign exchanges, despite loan assistance from Saudi Arabia and China.
Way ahead for Pakistan –
• After the plenary session of June 2021, FATF had said Pakistan needed to “investigate and prosecute” senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terror groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, and its ‘operational commander’ Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. The FATF gave Pakistan until October 2021 to meet the remaining conditions of compliance.
• At the end of the October plenary, however, the president of the task force announced that the country would remain on the grey list until it had addressed all issues flagged by the June 2018 action plan, as well as the one drawn up by the FATF’s regional partner, the Asia Pacific Group (APG), in 2019.
• Pakistan’s progress was appreciated in March this year by the global body, which noted that it had “completed 26 of the 27 action items in its 2018 action plan”. The FATF encouraged Pakistan to address the one remaining item by continuing terror financing investigations and prosecutions of senior leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups.
PAPER 1 – Geography
Why Should You Know?
• On June 14, 2022 the world saw the Strawberry Moon,which was June’s full moon. The moon was at perigee, or the closest point in its orbit around the Earth, at 5:22 p.m. IST on that day, making it appear like a “supermoon.”
• Every June, the full moon rises beyond the horizon, and this is known as the Strawberry Moon. Basically In June, it occurs at the closest point in its orbit to Earth, that’s maki it a supermoon by most criteria.
• Astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 coined the term ‘Supermoon’. Prior to this, the entire moon was known as Strawberry Moon.
• The Strawberry Moon is also known as the Rose, Mead, Honey, Hoe, Flower, Hot, and Planting Moon, among a variety of other nicknames.
• The term was given in June and symbolises the start of summer in North America, when strawberries begin to bloom, according to experts.
• Strawberries did not grow hundreds of years ago over the pond in Europe, thus the June full moon was dubbed the Rose Moon in honour of the rose bushes flowering at this time of year.
• While this moon will not have the scarlet tint of a strawberry or a rose, it will provide a wonderful occasion to commemorate the summer crop.
• The full moon in June 2022 was the second of four supermoons in a row. When it is farthest from the Earth, a supermoon can appear slightly larger than a full moon.
• According to NASA, the Supermoon can appear up to 30% brighter and 17% larger than the regular moon. However, it may not appear that way to the ordinary observer..
• Supermoons are typically defined as any full moon situated at a distance of at least 90% of perigee, that point where the moon is nearest to Earth.
• The June Full Moon 2022 will also be the lowest full moon of this year, with the moon rising just 23.3 degrees above the Southern Horizon early on June 15 for the observers in the United States.
First ‘Bharat Gaurav’ train service starts
Paper 3- Trasportation
Why Should You Know?
• The first train under the Indian Railways’ ‘Bharat Gaurav’ scheme was flagged off on June 14,2022 with the maiden service leaving Coimbatore North railway station in Tamil Nadu for Sainagar Shirdi in Maharashtra.
• Promoting India’s rich cultural heritage! Southern Railway becomes the first zone to get its first Registered service provider under the ‘Bharat Gaurav’ Scheme and commence operations of the maiden service from Coimbatore North to Sainagar Shirdi.
• South Star Rail is the registered service provider that operates this Bharat Gaurav Train from Coimbatore to Shirdi and back. This Coimbatore based company is registered company and it is part of the conglomerate group – Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt. Limited.
About the journey –
• The Bharat Gaurav Train from Coimbatore North to Sainagar Shirdi will commence at 18:00 hours on 14th June 2022 and reach Sainagar Shirdi at 07:25 hours on 16th June 2022 (Thursday) with stoppages at Tiruppur, Erode, Salem, Yelahanka, Dharmavaram, Mantralayam Road and Wadi.
• During the onward journey from Coimbatore, this Bharat Gaurav Train has stoppage at Mantralayam Road station for 5 hours to facilitate darshan at Mantralayam temple
• In the return direction, the Bharat Gaurav Train from Sainagar Shirdi to Coimbatore North will commence at 07:25 hours on 17th June 2022 and reach Coimbatore North at 12:00 hours on 18th June 2022 with stoppages at Wadi, Dharmavaram, Yelahanka, Salem, Erode and Tiruppur.
About Bharat Gaurav Trains –
• Indian Railways had launched the operation of theme-based Bharat Gaurav train in the month of November 2021.
• The objective of this theme is to showcase India’s rich cultural heritage and magnificent historical places to the people of India and the world, through Bharat Gaurav Trains.
• This scheme also aims to leverage the core strengths of the professionals of the tourism sector to run theme-based trains to tap the vast tourist potential of India.
• At present, IRCTC is already running several tourist circuit trains in Railways. With introduction of this policy, all tourist circuit trains w.e.f 01-04-2022 shall be operated as per the guidelines issued under this policy.
• This Bharat Gaurav scheme will now help in roping in of more tour operators with professional experience and will give boost to tourism sector in the country.
Petition in Supreme Court for Population Control Act
Paper 2- Social Issues
Why Should You Know?
• A Public Interest Litigation plea has been moved before the Supreme Court seeking direction for the Central Government to ascertain the feasibility of enacting a stringent population control law to secure fundamental rights, mainly rule of law, right to air, right to water, right to food, right to health, right to sleep, right to shelter, right to livelihood, right to justice and right to education.
• The petition filed by Devkinandan Thakur through Ashutosh Dubey states that “a strong and effective population control law on the lines of China is the need of the hour. More emphasis needs to be laid on women’s education and health.”
• The plea has submitted that the proper to wash air, consuming water, well being, and livelihood assured below Articles 21-21A, can’t be secured to all residents with out efficient residents management.
• It further submits that 125 crore Indians have AADHAAR Card while around 20% i.e. 25 crore citizens are without AADHAAR, and around 5 crore Bangladeshi and Rohingya infiltrators, illegally reside in India. From this, it is evident that the total population of India is more than 150 crore and India has marched ahead of China, the plea reads.
• “If we calculate natural resources, then we have around 2% of agricultural land and merely 4% of the world land. However, population is 20%. If we compare with America then our area is one-third of America and the rate of population growth is eight times of America. In America, 10,000 children are born every day and in India 86,000 children per day,” the plea adds.
• The plea has further sought direction for the Law Commission of India to examine the population control laws and population control policies of the developed countries and suggest the population control steps to secure the fundamental rights of citizens.
• With respect to the issue of repeated pregnancies, the plea submits that the repeated pregnancies jeopardize woman’s health, leading to further adverse pregnancy outcomes. “There is increased risk of abortions also in such mothers. Mothers become more prone to infections with repeated pregnancies,” the plea states.
• It may also be noted that another PIL pertaining to a similar issue filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking directions to the Centre to frame regulations and guidelines to control the population is pending in the Supreme Court. That plea states that in the spirit of the 24th recommendation of the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution; Justice Venkatachaliah Commission direction should be issued to ascertain the possibility of making “Two Child Law”, as a criteria for Government Jobs, aids and subsidies.
• It is worth mentioning that Mr. Upadhyay had made a strong appeal in court. He said that Population explosion is more dangerous than bomb explosion and without implementing effective population control measures, Healthy India, Literate India, Prosperous India, Resourceful India, Strong India, Secured India, Sensitive India, Clean India and Corruption and Crime-Free India campaigns won’t succeed.
Government stand –
• In December 2020, in a similar petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, the government had clarified that it was against coercing couples into having a “certain number of children” in a bid to curb population explosion.
• In fact, the government said the period between 2001-2011 had witnessed the sharpest decline in decadal growth rate among Indians in a 100 years.
• “The Family Welfare Programme in India is voluntary in nature, which enables couples to decide the size of their family and adopt the family planning methods best suited to them, according to their choice, without any compulsion,” the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had said in an affidavit.
• It said India was a signatory to the Programme Of Action (POA) of the International Conference on Population and Development, 1994, which was unequivocally against coercion in family planning.
• the Ministry explained. That international experience shows that any coercion to have a certain number of children is counter-productive and leads to demographic distortions.
Amendment in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
Paper 3- Economy
Why Should You Know?
• the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has amended rules pertaining to redressal of grievances filed against insolvency professionals With a view to establish a systematic and speedy grievance redressal process
• IBBI has amended the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Grievance and Complaint Handling Procedure) Regulations, 2017 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Inspection and Investigation) Regulations, 2017.
• According to this The mechanism of complaint or grievance redressal and subsequent enforcement action has been amended to have expeditious redressal and also to avoid placing undue burden on the service providers.
• To curtail delays and ensure expeditious and result oriented enforcement mechanism, the amended rules provides for revisions in various timelines related to enforcement process for addressing the issue of delay in the present mechanism.
• The new rules will also provide effective participation of income payment agreements or IPAs in regulating the insolvency professionals (IPs) through examination of grievances received against them.
• The amended rules require intimation to the Committee of Creditors (CoC) or Adjudicating Authority (AA) about the outcome of the Disciplinary Committee (DC) order.
• The new rule has been effective from 14 june 2022.
About IBBI –
• The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India was established on 1st October, 2016 under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code).
• It is a key pillar of the ecosystem responsible for implementation of the Code that consolidates and amends the laws relating to reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.
• The IBC code offers a market-directed and time-bound mechanism for resolution of insolvency cases, facilitating ease of doing business.
• The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Grievance and Complaint Handling Procedure) Regulations, 2017 provide mechanism for redressal of complaints filed against insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities.
• The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Inspection and Investigation) Regulations, 2017 provide mechanism for carrying out inspections and investigations on insolvency professional agencies, insolvency professionals and information utilities and passing orders by the disciplinary committee.
Export of Indian wheat
Paper 3- International trade
Why Should You Know?
• On 15 june 2022, The UAE has ordered a suspension of exports and re-exports of wheat and wheat flour originating from India for four months.
• It is worth mentioning that the move follows India banning the export of wheat last month to check the surge in local prices. With this, Indian wheat cannot be rooted to third countries via the UAE.
• The ban, which the ministry called as ‘moratorium’, has been imposed effective from May 13 “in view of the international developments that have affected trade flows”.
• India banned wheat exports in a surprise move on May 14, except for those backed by already issued letters of credit (LCs) and to countries seeking to ensure food security. Since then, it has allowed shipments of 469,202 tonnes of wheat.
• Companies wishing to export or re-export Indian wheat brought into the UAE before May 13, when India’s suspension began, must first make an application to the economy ministry.
• It is noteworthy that The UAE and India signed a broad trade and investment pact in February that seeks to cut all tariffs on each other’s goods and aims to increase their annual trade to $100 billion within five years..
• The pact, known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Trade Agreement (CEPA), took effect on May 1.
World Competitiveness Index
Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
• Institute for Management Development (IMD) business school in Switzerland and Singapore released the 2022 World Competitiveness Ranking.
• Its think-tank, IMD World Competitiveness Center, ranks 63 economies and assesses the extent to which a country promotes the prosperity of its people by measuring economic well-being via hard data and survey responses from executives.
• It measures the prosperity and competitiveness of countries by examining four factors (334 Competitiveness Criteria):
• according to index India has witnessed the sharpest rise among the Asian economies, with a six-position jump from 43rd to 37th rank.largely due to gains in economic performance.
• Denmark has moved to the top of the 63-nation list from the third position last year, while Switzerland slipped from the top ranking to the second position and Singapore regained the third spot from fifth.
• Others in the top 10 include Sweden at the fourth position, followed by Hong Kong SAR (5th), the Netherlands (6th), Taiwan (7th), Finland (8th), Norway (9th) and the USA (10th).Meanwhile, the top-performing Asian economies are Singapore (3rd), Hong Kong (5th), Taiwan (7th), China (17th) and Australia (19th).
• After a stable but stagnant five years, 2022 witnessed significant improvement in the competitiveness of the Indian economy, IMD said, adding that this is largely due to gains in economic performance (from 37th to 28th).
• The domestic economy has experienced a stratospheric rise from 30th to 9th position in a year, Institute for Management Development (IMD) noted.The labour market, a key sub-factor in the business efficiency parameter, moved up from 15th to 6th, while management practices and business attitudes and values also made major leaps.
• economists at IMD World Competitiveness Centre said that with indian government having made major improvements in the context of retrospective taxes in 2021, India appears to have restored the trust of the business community. Its re-regulation of a number of sectors, including drones, space and geo-spatial mapping, also likely played a role in the country’s stellar performance in the 2022 WCR,”
• India is also a driving force in the global movement to fight climate change and India’s pledge of net-zero by 2070 at the COP26 summit in November 2021, sits in harmony with its strength in environment-related technologies in the ranking.
The challenges that India faces include
•managing trade disruptions and energy security,
•maintaining high GDP growth post the pandemic,
•skill development and
•asset monetisation and
•resource mobilisation for infrastructure development.
Attraction factors of India’s economy –
The top five attractive factors of India’s economy for business are –
•a skilled workforce,
•dynamism of the economy,
•high educational level and
•open and positive attitudes.
• The IMD World Competitiveness Ranking (WCR) found that inflationary pressures are affecting the competitiveness of national economies along with COVID, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Global challenges –
• The three most important trends found to be impacting businesses in 2022 are inflationary pressures (50 per cent), geopolitical conflicts (49 per cent) and supply chain bottlenecks (48 per cent) with COVID being the fourth (43 per cent).”Inflationary pressure is affecting most economies,”.
• Other global challenges affecting the competitiveness of countries include variants of COVID-19 with respect to the number of infected people around the world; differing national policies to address COVID (the ‘zero-tolerance COVID’ policy versus the ‘moving on from COVID’ policy); and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.” Meanwhile, China slipped one spot this year, reversing its strong upward trend of recent years, signalling a poor economic recovery exacerbated by its zero-COVID strategy.
Paper 2 – Important International Institutes
Why Should You Know?
• on June 15, 2022 the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval attended via video link the 12th Meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security.
• Doval called for bolstering cooperation against terrorism without any reservations as he addressed a virtual meeting of the five-nation grouping BRICS.
• The meeting also discussed strengthening and improving governance in new frontiers, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
• All parties expressed their readiness to work for fruitful outcomes of the 14th BRICS summit.
• The meeting reviewed the work of the working group on counter-terrorism and cyber security, agreed to jointly promote plans and roadmaps for international counter-terrorism and cyber security cooperation, and uphold the central coordinating role of the United Nations in the global counter-terrorism cause.
• The officials called for a more inclusive, representative and democratic global Internet governance system.
• It is worth mentioning that China, which is this year’s chair of the BRICS grouping, is due to host the summit of the five-member bloc. The BRICS virtual summit is scheduled to be held on June 23 and June 24.
What is BRICS Group?
• BRICS is an organization of five countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, whose purpose is to increase economic and other types of cooperation in these countries.
• It was formed in 2006 and is headquartered in Shanghai.
• Previously only Brazil, Russia, India and China were included and South Africa was included in 2010.
• The top leaders of the BRICS countries and other ministerial conferences are held annually.