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GoalTide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jul 16, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Africa Open DEAL initiative

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Africa has become the first continent in the world to complete the collection of accurate, comprehensive and harmonised digital land use and land use change data under the Africa Open DEAL initiative. DEAL stands for Data for the Environment, Agriculture and Land Initiative.

The data collection and analysis initiative is led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC).

Now,

The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme of India

The National Land Records Modernization Programme (NLRMP), approved in 2008 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, has since been revamped as the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) as a Central Sector Scheme with cent per cent Central funding with effect from 01st April 2016.

It attempts to build upon the commonalities that exist in the arena of land records in various States to develop an appropriate Integrated Land Information Management System (ILIMS) across the country, on which different States can also add State-specific needs as they may deem relevant and appropriate.

Current status of Programme:

Currently, Centre is Planning to link Aadhaar with land records. Wait for updates. If approved, Aadhaar linking could become a part of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme or DILRMP.

Current Affair 2:
6 ways we can take action on malnutrition, according to the UN

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Nelson Mandela International Day is marked every 18 July. This year, the focus is on malnutrition. In 2020, around a tenth of the world’s population was undernourished.

UN mentions six pathways for improving global food security:

Fostering peace-building alongside humanitarian aid

Many of the world’s most malnourished people live in war zones. One example of this is Yemen, where acute malnutrition has reached record levels since the start of a civil war in 2014, affecting half of children under five.

Scaling up climate resilience across food systems

The UN report suggests that we need to move towards a “climate-positive future, in which people and nature can co-exist and thrive”. From wildfires to locusts, climate change is already affecting food security.

Strengthening the resilience of the most economically vulnerable

The world’s most vulnerable have been worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the social protection programmes implemented by governments were helpful, the report says, they should be in place in advance of any economic downturn, so that when such conditions arise, vulnerable populations are not left without a safety net and can still access nutritious food and a healthy diet.

Reinventing the supply chain to lower the cost of nutritious foods

The report calls for government policies and incentives to help diversify production towards nutritious foods like fruit, vegetables and legumes. It also recommends the fortification of staple foods with vitamins and minerals as a way to supply whole populations with critical nutrients like iodine and iron.

One effective strategy in tackling this problem is the AGRUPAR programme in Quito, Ecuador, where more than 4,400 urban gardens have been created, with 43% of produce sold in local food markets. Because this produce is travelling shorter distances, the cost to consumers is lowered.

Tackling poverty and structural inequalities

Inequality contributes to hunger, food insecurity and poor nutrition, especially in rural areas, where poverty rates are three times higher than in urban settings.

Changing consumer behaviour to promote positive dietary habits

Poor nutrition doesn’t just impact health through starvation. It also leads to the kind of weight problems that trigger diabetes, poor heart health and musculoskeletal disorders.

Current Affair 3:
Gram Nyayalayas

The Law Commission of India, in its 114th Report, had suggested establishment of Gram Nyayalayas for providing affordable and quick access to justice to the citizens at their doorsteps. The Gram Nyayalayas Bill was passed by the Parliament on 22nd December 2008 and the Gram Nyayalayas Act came into force with effect from 02nd October, 2009.

Some of the salient features of the Gram Nyayalayas Act are as follows:

  1. Gram Nyayalayas are aimed at providing inexpensive justice to people in ruralØ areas at their doorsteps
  2. Gram Nyayalayas are to be established for every Panchayat at intermediate level orØ a group of contiguous Panchayats at intermediate level or for a group of contiguous Gram Panchayats
  3. The seat of the Gram Nyayalayas shall be located at the headquarters of theØ intermediate Panchayat.
  4. The Nyayadhikari shall periodically visit villages and may hear the parties and dispose of the cases at the place other than its headquarters
  5. The Gram Nyayalayas will try criminal cases, civil suits, claims or disputes whichØ are specified in the First Schedule and the Second Schedule to the Act. They are to follow summary procedure in criminal trial
  6. Disputes are to be settled as far as possible by bringing about conciliation between the parties and for this purpose, the Gram Nyayalayas will make use of the conciliators to be appointed for this purpose
  7. The Gram Nyayalayas shall not be bound by the rules of evidence provided in theØ Indian Evidence Act, 1872 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice subject to any rule made by the High Court.

Current Affair 4:
Ways & Means Advances (WMA)

To help the states tide over such shortfalls in revenue and to meet their expenditure, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provides financial accommodation to the States.  This is done in the form of Ways & Means Advances (WMA). 

Section 17(5) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934 governs the facilitation of WMA by RBI to the states.

WMA is of two types:

  • Normal WMA also referred to as clean advance (started in 1937)
  • Special WMA started in 1953, which is now referred to as Special Drawing Facility (SDF) since 2014.

How WMA is determined?

The extent to which the states can opt for WMA is reviewed periodically. A committee set up by RBI reviews the criteria that determine the WMA limits. When WMA was introduced in 1937, the WMA limit was kept equal to the minimum balance of the respective State governments which was later revised periodically as a multiple of the respective states’ minimum balance. Since 1999, an Informal Advisory Committee (IAC) is constituted by RBI to work out the criteria for setting WMA limits.

Currently, an Expenditure-based WMA limit is being followed. The current recommendations were provided by a new committee constituted in August 2019. Before the committee could come up with its recommendations, the pandemic broke out in 2020 and hence an interim report for 2020-21 was released.

Other tools apart from WMA:

Special Drawing Facility (SDF):

Apart from WMA, the State Governments are further provided the option of Special Drawing Facility (SDF). This facility was in place since 1953 and is provided against the collateral of their investments in marketable securities issued by the Government of India. While a limit was set earlier, the IAC has decided to allow the states to draw freely against their holdings of GoI securities since 1999.

Overdraft Facility (OD):

The States can borrow money from RBI beyond WMA & SDF, to adjust the fiscal position, but are required to pay back immediately.  When advances to State Governments exceed their SDF and WMA limits, an OD facility is provided. The regulations and limits on the usage of ODF have evolved over the period of time. As per the current norms, States governments are allowed to run on OD for up to 14 consecutive days.

All the advances granted to the State governments i.e., WMA, SDF & OD attract interest on the outstanding amount.

 

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